Catherine Puma

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Catherine Puma

Catherine Puma

MPS Candidate
Marine Biology & Ecology

Catherine Puma is a Master of Professional Science intern in Dr. Andrew Baker's Coral Reef Futures Lab. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in Environmental Science and English, she worked in academic and scientific publishing, including as a Senior Editorial Assistant at Springer Nature's Nature Communications journal and as a Research Associate on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Air Force Studies Board. She realized that she was most the intellectually fulfilled when contributing to the communication of scientific knowledge in their written deliverables and the most emotionally fulfilled when traveling outdoors to attend site visits or conferences.

Drawn to the hands-on practical and scientific curriculum at RSMAS, she now seeks to improve our understanding of how corals respond to stressful inshore environments to better prepare them for future climate change conditions. By pre-exposing corals to the harsher temperature and light environment in Biscayne Bay, we can trial the validity of prioritizing inshore nurseries to help corals frontload genes and switch to more thermally tolerant symbionts prior to outplanting these fragments to offshore reefs. Her project goal is for her methods and results to be scalable and applicable to other inshore nursery research questions and restoration objectives, including long-term monitoring of how these corals survive, bleach, recover, and adapt in these inshore environments.

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