Lab Alumni



Erin Voss ’16 Conflicting geography of mitochondrial and nuclear markers in a green crab hybrid zone in the Gulf of Maine

Independent Research

Aidan Short ’15 Molecular analysis of diet in green crabs

GRADUATE STUDENTS at the University of Hawaii (I now serve on their committees)

Ph.D. student, Carlon Lab, University of Hawaii at Manoa (2012 – Present)
B.S., Biology, Oregon State University (2009)

Research Interests: I am interested in hybridization and introgression as adaptive mechanisms, especially in the marine environment. I am also interested in the nature of species boundaries in a broad sense, and how these boundaries respond to habitat disturbance and environmental stressors. In particular, I would like to examine the potential effects of climate change on temporal isolation in corals, and to see whether hybridization and introgression will become a more common, and possibly adaptive, phenomenon.

For more information about Seans’s research, contact him at


Ph.D. student, Carlon Lab, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (2011 – Present)
B.S., General Biology, Humboldt State University (2010)

Research Interests
I am generally interested in detecting signatures of evolution and understanding what forces drive biological change over time. My interest is to utilize techniques ranging from phylogenetics to ecology to population genetics in order to elucidate evolutionary relationships and thereby contribute to a greater understanding of broader ecological patterns. I am currently looking at the evolutionary relationships within the pantropical sea urchin genus Tripneustes, which appears to exist as a large metapopulation across the Pacific, but have greater population structuring across the much smaller Atlantic.

Láruson, Á.J., Craig S.F., Messer K.J., Mackie J.A. (2012) Rapid and reliable inference of mitochondrial phylogroups among Watersipora species, an invasive group of ship-fouling species (Bryozoa, Cheilostomata). Conserv Genet Resour. 4(3):617-619. Abstract.

For more information about Áki’s research, check out his CV or contact him at


Ph.D. student, Carlon Lab, University of Hawaii at Manoa (2012 – Present)
M.S., Biology, University of Guam (2002)
B.S., Biology, The Evergreen State College (1998)

Research Interests: Fundamentally I’m interested in coral reef biodiversity, ecology, evolution and conservation. Some of my previous research has been to better understand coral reef biodiversity and chemical ecology at the organismal level. More recently my research (with many wonderful collaborators!) has focused on coral recruitment as a critical process for reef recovery. We know that multiple factors can help or harm larval supply, settlement and post-settlement survival and growth, all of which are critical for successful coral recruitment (Ritson-Williams et al., 2009). Further work showed that some benthic organisms can facilitate coral settlement (Ritson-Williams et al., 2010) or inhibit it (Kuffner et al., 2006; Paul et al., 2011). In addition, we used multiple biochemical and physiological techniques to assess larval health (sublethal stress) after exposure to abiotic and biotic stressors (Ross et al., 2010; Ross et al., 2012).

For my PhD research I’m especially interested in how coral populations will respond to local and global stressors. A changing environment might be driving population dynamics for corals and a population’s ability to adapt to that variability could be determined by successful recruitment of more stress resistant genotypes. However, how recruitment influences population dynamics remains poorly studied and we still don’t have a good understanding of the natural levels of variability in stress tolerance of corals and their larvae. Understanding how stressors influence genotypic diversity in newly settled coral recruits is necessary to predict the trajectory of coral populations and their ability to recover from acute and chronic stressors. Coral populations with decreasing genetic diversity may be experiencing a serious genetic bottleneck that could threaten their ability to survive future stress events, leading to the destruction of this valuable ecosystem.

References (please e-mail me for a pdf of any of these articles-

Kuffner, I., Walters, L., Becerro, M., Paul, V.J., Ritson-Williams, R., Beach, K. (2006) Inhibition of coral recruitment by macroalgae and cyanobacteria. Marine Ecology Progress Series 323: 107-117.

Paul, V.J., Kuffner, I.B., Walters, L.J., Ritson-Williams, R., Beach, K.S., Becerro, M.A. (2011) Chemically mediated interactions between macroalgae Dictyota spp. and multiple life-history stages of the coral Porites astreoides. Marine Ecology Progress Series 426: 161-170.

Ritson-Williams, R., Arnold, S., Fogarty, N., Steneck, R.S., Vermeij, M.J.A., V.J. Paul (2009) New perspectives on ecological mechanisms affecting coral recruitment on reefs. Smithsonian Contributions to Marine Science 38: 437-457.

Ritson-Williams, R., Paul, V.J., Arnold, S., R.S. Steneck (2010) Larval settlement preferences and post-settlement survival of the threatened Caribbean corals Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis. Coral Reefs 29: 71-81.

Ross, C., Ritson-Williams, R., Pierce, R., Bullington, J. B., V. J. Paul (2010) Effects of the Florida red tide dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, on oxidative stress and metamorphosis of larvae of the coral Porites astreoides. Harmful Algae 9: 173-179.

Ross, C., Ritson-Williams, R., Olsen, K., V. J. Paul (2012) Short-term and latent post-settlement effects associated with elevated temperature and oxidative stress on larvae from the coral Porites astreoides. Coral Reefs; online first. DOI 10.1007/s00338-012-0956-2

GRADUATE STUDENTS at the University of Hawaii (Thesis advisor)

Kristin Halbert, M.S. 2013. Genetic isolation in the open sea: cryptic diversity in the  Pleuromamma pisekiP. gracilis species complex. Co-advised with Erica Goetz, SOEST.

Sonja Schwartz, PhD. 2012. Thesis research: Origins of marine biodiversity: Using molecular methods to examine speciation processes in Carribean corals (Family Faviidae) and Indo-Pacific parrotfishes (genus Scarus). Sonja was co-advised by myself and George Roderick at U. C. Berkeley.

Kimberly Tice, M.S. 2009. Thesis research: Against the grain? Morphometric and genomic investigation of the causes of shell variation in the Hawaiian periwinkle Echinolittorina hawaiiensis.

John Fitzpatrick, M.S. 2008. Thesis research: Phylogeography predicts biogeography: a multi-locus test of vicariance and dispersal in a widespread Indo-Pacific parrotfish.


Catherine Lippe 2004-2007


Dr. Paula Conde-Padin 2006-2007 Molecular and morphological variation in the intertidal snail Echinolittorina hawaiiensis.