Michael Studivan

Color Portrait of a smiling Michael Studivan wearing a white hard hat, red autoinflatable life vest with yellow pull, blue mirror sunglasses with white frame and a blue-green, grey, and white check mark shirt with the sleeves rolled up

Research Highlights

Research Interests

Use of advanced molecular techniques to better understand coral physiology, health, and adaptation to multiple environments.

Understanding genetic connectivity of coral ecosystems in marginal environments.

Michael S. Studivan, Ph.D.

Assistant Scientist (University of Miami/CIMAS), Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division

4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida 33149

“As part of my research and academic interests, I am an avid Trimix technical diver, drone pilot, and filmmaker. In addition to the production and dissemination of cutting-edge genetic research, I believe that outreach and education are key to the advancement of effective management strategies and better representation of science with the general public.”

Michael Studivan is a principal investigator at CIMAS and UM lead of the Experimental Reef Laboratory. His research involves the use of advanced molecular techniques to better understand coral physiology and adaptation, as well as genetic connectivity of coral ecosystems in marginal environments. He aims to identify molecular mechanisms at the individual level that may affect population-wide ecosystem processes in variable environments, particularly in light of recent coral disease outbreaks on the Florida Reef Tract and wider Caribbean. He completed his graduate degrees and postdoctoral fellowship at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Studivan’s dissertation research addressed mesophotic coral ecosystem connectivity and mesophotic coral morphology/physiology using genotyping, skeletal morphometrics, and gene expression profiling with Montastraea cavernosa from the Gulf of Mexico (Flower Garden Banks and Pulley Ridge) and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (Carrie Bow Cay, Belize). For his postdoctoral research, he characterized the response of corals to stony coral tissue loss disease and intervention strategies using RNA-Seq gene expression profiling and 3D modeling.

Current Work

Assistant Scientist, Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division

Download Full CV

2011, B.A. Biology, Minors: Film & Media Studies, Environmental Studies Degree, cum laude, GPA: 3.7, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, Maryland

2016, M.S. Biological Science, GPA: 4.0, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

2018, Ph.D. Integrative Biology, GPA: 4.0, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

  1. Enochs, I.C., M.S. Studivan, G. Kolodziej, C. Foord, I. Basden, A. Boyd, N. Formel, A. Kirkland, E. Rubin, M. Jankulak, I. Smith, C.R. Kelble, and D.P. Manzello. Coral persistence despite marginal conditions in the Port of Miami. Scientific Reports, 13:6759, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-33467-7 2023
    Ref. 4256
  2. Johnston, M.A., M.S. Studivan, I.C. Enochs, A.M.S. Correa, N. Besemer, R.J. Eckert, K. Edwards, R. Hannum, X, Hu, M. Nuttall, K. O’Connell, A.M. Palacio-Castro, G.P. Schmahl, A.B. Sturm, B. Ushijima, and J.D. Voss. Coral disease outbreak at the remote Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10:1111749, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2023.1111749 2023
    Ref. 4223
  3. Morris, J.T., I.C. Enochs, M.S. Studivan, B.D. Young, A.B. Mayfield, N. Soderberg, N. Traylor-Knowles, G. Kolodziej, and D. Manzello. Ocean acidification influences the gene expression and physiology of two Caribbean bioeroding sponges. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10:1223380, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2023.1223380 2023
    Ref. 4311

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.

Best Student Poster, Mesophotic Coral Reef Ecosystems Gordon Research Conference, June 2018

FAU Three Minute Thesis Heat Second Runner-Up, November 2016

Best Student Oral Presentation, 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, June 2016

Film “Black & Blue: Estuarine Discharge on St. Lucie Reef” selected for screening at Beneath the Waves Film Festival, Portland, ME, March 2016

Film “Exploring Twilight Reefs of the Flower Garden Banks” selected for screening at the BLUE Gulf Film Festival, Corpus Christi, TX, November 2015

Outstanding Graduate Student Poster, Benthic Ecology Meeting, March 2015

Biology Department Award, Overall Excellence in an Oral Presentation of a St. Mary’s Project, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, May 2011

Biology Department Award, Academic Distinction and Service, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, May 2011

Study Abroad Award, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, March 2010

Academic Achievement Scholarship, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, August 2009

Smart Grant, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, August 2009

US National Research Council. Postdoctoral fellowship to work with scientists at NOAA- AOML on coral diseases 2019-2020