Amy Apprill

Associate Scientist


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Lobate Porites sp. coral in waters off Ofu, American Samoa.

Coral-associated microorganisms

Corals harbor a complex assemblage of microorganisms including eukaryotic dinoflagellates, bacteria, archaea and viruses.  The extent that particular organisms within these groups contribute to coral health is an important area of research.  Our research on coral microbiomes is focused on questions that advance understanding about how microorganisms (Bacteria and Archaea) contribute to maintaining a coral’s health, play a role in the development of disease, and are affected by altered environmental conditions.

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A humpback whale breaches off the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Marine mammal microbiomes

Recent studies on the microbes associated with our human bodies (our 'microbiome') suggest that these microbial communities play vital and active roles in maintaining our health. The health of marine mammals is of particular concern, with many of these species residing in anthropogenically impacted coastlines, and frequently stranding on beaches.  We are studying the virtually unexplored microbiomes of marine mammals to learn more about the role of their microbiomes health.

Reef water bacterioplankton dynamics

The microbial ecology of coral reefs is increasingly recognized as an important factor contributing to the health of globally threatened coral reef ecosystems, but we know little about bacterioplankton dynamics in this environment.  We are interested in how water quality dynamics in a coral reef environment impact bacterioplankton communities.

Last updated: September 30, 2017