Allyson DeMerlis

Research Highlights

Research Interests

Thermal stress-hardening of staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) to enhance the efficacy of coral restoration techniques.

Change in gene expression and identification of activated molecular pathways following exposure to stony coral tissue loss disease in Orbicella faveolata and Montastrea cavernosa.

Genotypic variation in heat-stress response of Acropora cerivcornis genotypes used in coral restoration efforts in Florida.

Identification of key molecular pathways involved in coral stress response following bleaching or tissue loss due to increased temperature exposure.

Allyson DeMerlis

Ph.D. Student, Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric Science, University of Miami

4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida 33149

“As mass coral bleaching events and coral disease outbreaks become increasingly more common, it is imperative that we continue to research the mechanisms behind these observed changes if we want to conserve coral reef ecosystems as we know them.​ I am dedicated to this endeavor, as coral reefs are so critically important to our survival.”

Allyson DeMerlis is currently a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science studying the molecular basis for coral resilience against bleaching and disease. Her work intersects the ecology of Caribbean stony corals and the molecular biology of the coral immune system in order to address questions surrounding coral resilience to environmental stressors. This is achieved with joint advisorship of Dr. Ian Enochs (OCED) and Dr. Nikki Traylor-Knowles, assistant professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School.

To learn more about Allyson DeMerlis’s work, view her Research in coral resilience and restoration web page.

Current Work

Ph.D. Student, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, ​Marine Biology and Ecology Department

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2017, B.S. Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

2019 – Current, Ph.D. Student, Marine Biology & Ecology, RSMAS, U. Miami, Virginia Key, FL

Traylor-Knowles N, Connelly MT, Young BD, Eaton K, Muller EM, Paul VJ, Ushijima B, DeMerlis A, Drown MK, Goncalves A, Kron N, Snyder GA, Martin C, Rodriguez K (2021) Gene expression response to stony coral tissue loss disease transmission in M. cavernosa and O. faveolata from Florida. Frontiers in Marine Science,8, 791.

Koch HR, Wallace B, DeMerlis A, Clark AS, Nowicki RJ (2021) 3D scanning as a tool to measure growth rates of live coral microfragments used for coral reef restoration. Frontiers in Marine Science.

OAR Team Members of the Year – Outreach and Education 2023

For exemplary response to the unexpected and unprecedented 2023 coral bleaching event in South Florida and their efforts to communicate the event to the American public.

Mote Marine Laboratory Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)<

David Rowland Fellowship