Maggie D. Johnson

I began studying coral reefs during my undergrad at Colby College in central Maine, and over the last several years have become passionate about trying to understand how global change influences coral reefs and what the prognosis for reefs is in the near-future.

Now I am a third year PhD student in Dr. Jennifer Smith’s lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I study a variety of aspects of coral reef ecology, and am lucky in that my research takes me to some remote, uninhabited islands to study global change effects on coral reefs and how benthic organisms influence reef biogeochemistry. I am particularly concerned about the implications of ocean acidification for coral reef organisms. My research addresses the question: are there differential effects of ocean acidification on coral reef seaweeds?

Although my primary research interests are in algae (especially crustose coralline algae), I also have spent time studying different aspects of benthic ecology including: recruitment and survival of the American lobster in the Gulf of Maine, invasive tunicates in the Gulf of Maine, and spiny lobster feeding preferences at Catalina Island. Most recently I had the unique opportunity to take part in the 2013 expedition to the Southern Line Islands, where I conducted experiments to quantify benthic productivity across five uninhabited islands. With my love for both research and teaching, my ultimate goal is to become a professor with a research focus in understanding the implications of global change for marine ecosystems.

Coralline Algae: The Unsung Architects of Coral Reefs

Many species of pink coralline algae, which cements coral reefs together, cover a reef surface in the Southern Line Islands. Credit: Maggie D. Johnson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Stare at a tide pool and you will...