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We strive to do research that no one else is doing, especially if no one else can do it. That means long hours underwater, longer hours in the lab, and the challenge of hacking protocols together until new methods and corals are born. Then we share what we learned, and take on an even tougher challenge. It's not easy. But it's important, it's fun, and it's working. Here's a photo tour of what we do and how we serve our fellow scientists... (In mobile view, tap photos for captions.)


Do you have 60 seconds? Here's a video of coral larvae swimming in the lab. These animals can live for a thousand years and grow to be car-sized, at which point they no longer fit into the Petri dishes. 


Do you have a hundred times more time than that? Here's a webinar about coral spawning methods and the next set of challenges for our field. It's aimed at restoration groups, but we suspect there's a much bigger coral fan club out there.


Interested in the latest coral spawning shenanigans on Curacao? Here's Kristen's talk from Reef Futures Virtual 2021, on the progress we've recently made propagating quirky corals like Dichocoenia and Dendrogyra.



  • Z. Quinlan, M.-J. Bennett, M.G.I. Arts, M. Levenstein, D. Flores, H.M. Tholen, L. Tichy, G. Juarez, A.F. Haas, V. Chamberland, K.R.W. Latijnhouwers, M.J.A. Vermeij, A. Wagoner Johnson, K. Marhaver, L. Wegley Kelly. Coral larval settlement induction using tissue-bound and exuded coralline algae metabolites and the identification of putative chemical signaling cues. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences. 290:20231476. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2023.1476. OpenAccess

  • A.T. Banaszak, V.F. Chamberland, K.L. Marhaver, A.C. Hartmann, M.W. Miller, R. Albright, M. Hagedorn, P.L. Harrison, K.R.W. Latijnhouwers, S. Mendoza Quiroz, and V. Pizarro. 2023. Applying coral larval propagation to reef restoration: best practices and current knowledge gaps in a rapidly evolving field. Restoration Ecology. e13913. DOI: 10.1002/REC.13913. OpenAccess

  • Pysanczyn, J.W., E.A. Williams, E. Brodrick, D. Robert, J. Craggs, K.L. Marhaver, and S. Simpson. 2023. The role of acoustics within the sensory landscape of coral larval settlement. Frontiers in Marine Science. 10:1111599. DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1111599. OpenAccess

  • Levenstein, M.A., D.J. Gysbers, K.L. Marhaver, S. Kattom, L. Tichy, Z. Quinlan, H.M. Tholen, L. Wegley Kelly, M.J.A. Vermeij, A.J. Wagoner Johnson, and G. Juarez. 2022. Millimeter-scale topography enables coral larval settlement in wave-driven oscillatory flow. PLoS ONE. 7(9): e0274088. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0274088 OpenAccess

  • K.L. Vasquez Kuntz, S.A. Kitchen, T.L. Conn, S.A. Vohsen, A.N. Chan, M.J.A. Vermeij, C. Page, K.L. Marhaver, and I.B. Baums. 2022. Inheritance of somatic mutations by animal offspring. Science Advances. 8(35): eabn0707. Altmetric Top 5%. DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abn0707 OpenAccess

  • Sandin, S., E. Alcantar, R. Clark, R. de León; F. Dilrosun, C.B. Edwards; A.J. Estep, Y. Eynaud, B.J. French, M.D. Fox, D Grenda, S.L. Hamilton, H. Kramp, K.L. Marhaver, S.D. Miller, T.N.F. Roach, G. Seferina, C.B. Silveira, J.E. Smith, B.J. Zgliczynski, and M.J.A. Vermeij. 2022. Benthic assemblages are more predictable than fish assemblages at an island scale. Coral Reefs. 41: 1031–1043. OpenAccess

  • Levenstein, M.A., D.J. Gysbers, K.L. Marhaver, S. Kattom, L. Tichy, Z. Quinlan, H.M. Tholen, L. Wegley Kelly, M.J.A. Vermeij, A.J. Wagoner Johnson, and G. Juarez. 2022. Millimeter-scale topography enables coral larval settlement in wave-driven oscillatory flow. arXiv. PREPRINT DOI:10.48550/arXiv.2203.05645 OpenAccess

  • Levenstein, M.A., K.L Marhaver, Z.A. Quinlan, H.M. Tholen, L. Tichy, J. Yus, I. Lightcap, L. Wegley Kelly, G. Juarez, M.J.A. Vermeij, and A.J. Wagoner Johnson. 2022. Composite Substrates Reveal Inorganic Material Cues for Coral Larval Settlement. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. 10(12): 3960-3971 DOI:10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c08313 OpenAccess

  • Hagedorn, M., C.A. Page, K. O'Neill, D.M. Flores, L. Tichy, T. Conn, V.F. Chamberland, C. Lager, N. Zuchowicz, K. Lohr, H. Blackburn, T. Vardi, J. Moore, T. Moore, I.B. Baums, M.J.A. Vermeij, and K.L. Marhaver. 2021. Assisted gene flow in critically-endangered corals using cryopreserved sperm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 118(38): e2110559118. Altmetric Top 5%. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2110559118 OpenAccess

  • Levenstein, M.A., K.L. Marhaver, Z.A. Quinlan, H.M. Tholen, L. Tichy, J. Yus, I. Lightcap, L. Wegley Kelly, G. Juarez, M.J.A. Vermeij, and A.J. Wagoner Johnson. 2021. Engineered Substrates Reveal Species-Specific Inorganic Cues for Coral Larval Settlement. ChemRxiv. PREPRINT. DOI: 10.33774/chemrxiv-2021-r1gxj OpenAccess

  • Delvoye, L., R.P.M. Bak, K.L. Marhaver, G. Nieuwland, and M.J.A. Vermeij. 2021. Tissue-loss Diseases Can be Linked to Fungal Invasion. Caribbean Naturalist. 82. Abstract

  • Vasquez Kuntz, K.L., S.A. Kitchen, T.L. Conn, S.A. Vohsen, A.N. Chan, M.J.A. Vermeij, C. Page, K.L. Marhaver, and I.B. Baums. 2020. Juvenile corals inherit mutations acquired during the parent's lifespan. bioRxiv. PREPRINT DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.19.345538 OpenAccess

  • Fogarty, N.D., and K.L. Marhaver. 2019. Coral spawning, unsynchronized. Science. 365(6457): 987-988. Altmetric Top 5%. DOI: 10.1126/science.aay7457 Author's PDF

  • Hagedorn, M., C.A. Page, K. O'Neill, D.M. Flores, L. Tichy, V.F. Chamberland, C. Lager, N. Zuchowicz, K. Lohr, H. Blackburn, T. Vardi, J. Moore, T. Moore, M.J.A. Vermeij, and K.L. Marhaver. 2018. Successful demonstration of Assisted Gene Flow in the threatened coral Acropora palmata across genetically-isolated Caribbean populations using cryopreserved sperm. bioRxiv PREPRINT DOI: 10.1101/492447 OpenAccess

  • Hartmann, A.C., K.L. Marhaver, A. Klueter, M. Lovci, C.J. Closek, E. Diaz, V.F. Chamberland, F.I. Archer, D.D. Deheyn, M.J.A. Vermeij, and M. Medina. 2018. Acquisition of obligate mutualist symbionts during the larval stage is not beneficial for a coral host. Molecular Ecology 28: 141-155. DOI: 10.1111/mec.14967 OpenAccess

  • Ruttenberg, B., J.E. Caselle, A.J. Estep, A.E. Johnson, K.L. Marhaver, L.J. Richter, S.A. Sandin, M.J.A. Vermeij, J.E. Smith, and D. Grenda. 2017. Ecological assessment of the marine ecosystems of Barbuda, West Indies: Using rapid scientific assessment to inform ocean zoning and fisheries management. PLoS ONE. 13(1): e0189355. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0189355 OpenAcess

  • Hartmann, A.C., K.L. Marhaver, and M.J.A. Vermeij. 2017. 11(3): 1-12. Altmetric Top 5%. DOI: 10.111/conl.12410 OpenAccess

  • Chamberland, V.F., S. Snowden, K.L. Marhaver, D. Petersen, and M.J.A. Vermeij. 2017. The reproductive biology and early life ecology of a common Caribbean brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis (Scleractinia: Faviinae). Coral Reefs 36(1): 83-94. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-016-1504-2 PDF

  • Marhaver, K.L., M.J.A. Vermeij, and M.M. Medina. 2015. Reproductive natural history and successful juvenile propagation of the threatened Caribbean Pillar Coral Dendrogyra cylindrus. BMC Ecology 15: 9. Altmetric Top 5%. DOI: 10.1186/s12898-015-0039-7 OpenAccess

  • Hartmann, A.C., S.A. Sandin, V.F. Chamberland, K.L. Marhaver, J. de Goeij, and M.J.A. Vermeij. 2015. Crude oil contamination interrupts settlement of coral larvae after direct exposure ends. Marine Ecology Progress Series 536: 163-173. DOI: 10.3354/meps11437 OpenAccess

  • Marhaver, K.L., M.J.A. Vermeij, F. Rohwer, and S.A. Sandin. 2013. Janzen-Connell effects in a broadcast-spawning Caribbean coral: distance-dependent survivorship of larvae and settlers. Ecology 94(1): 146-160. Featured in Faculty of 1000. DOI: 10.1890/12-0985.1 PDF

  • Gregg, A.K., M. Hatay, A.F. Haas, N. Robinett, K.L. Barott, M.J.A. Vermeij, K.L. Marhaver, and F. Rohwer. 2013. Biological oxygen demand optode analysis of coral reef-associated microbial communities exposed to algal exudates. Peer J 1: e107. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.107 OpenAccess

  • Hartmann, A.C., K.L. Marhaver, V.F. Chamberland, S.A. Sandin, and M.J.A. Vermeij. 2013. Large size at birth does not buffer negative latent effects of harsh pelagic environments in early life stage corals. Ecology 94(9): 1966-1976. DOI: 10.1890/13-0161.1 PDF

  • Vermeij, M.J.A., R. van der Heijden, J. Olthuis, K.L. Marhaver, J.E. Smith, and P. Visser. 2013. Survival and dispersal of macroalgae consumed by herbivorous coral reef fishes. Oecologia 171(2): 417-425. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-012-2436-3 PDF

  • Barott, K.L., B. Rodriguez-Mueller, M. Youle, K.L. Marhaver, M.J.A. Vermeij, J.E. Smith, F.L. Rohwer. 2012. Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae. Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences 279(1733): 1655-64. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2155 OpenAccess

  • Marhaver, K.L. 2011. Bleaching corals of two species appear to feed from neighboring algal turfs. Coral Reefs 30(3): 651. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-011-0782-y OpenAccess

  • Barott, K.L., B. Rodriguez-Brito, J. Janouškovec, K.L. Marhaver, J.E. Smith, P. Keeling, and F.L. Rohwer. 2011. Microbial diversity associated with four functional groups of benthic reef algae and the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis. Environmental Microbiology 13(5): 1192-1204. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02419.x PDF

  • Vermeij, M.J.A., K.L. Barott, A.E. Johnson, and K.L. Marhaver. 2010. Release of eggs from tentacles in a Caribbean coral. Coral Reefs 29(2): 411. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0595-4 OpenAccess

  • Vermeij, M.J.A., K.L. Marhaver, I. Nagelkerken, C. Huijbers, and S.P. Simpson. 2010. Coral larvae toward reef sounds. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10660. OpenAccess

  • Marhaver, K.L., R.A. Edwards, and F. Rohwer. 2008. Viral communities associated with healthy and bleaching corals. Environmental Microbiology 10(9): 2277-2286. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01652.x OpenAccess


  • Daan van Bendegom 2023. The settlement and growth of larvae of three Caribbean coral species on several composite substrates. Master's Thesis.

  • Sophie Schönherr 2020. Improving coral restoration methods by testing the effects of water flow and feeding on the early life stage of two Caribbean coral species. Bachelor's Thesis.

  • Daisy Flores 2019. Improving the success of coral larval propagation by applying beneficial microbes in a novel ex-situ nursery system. Master's Thesis.

  • Lucas Tichy 2018. Accelerating the efficiency of coral larval propagation with novel rearing, culturing, and settlement methods. Master's Internship.

  • Kiki Bals. 2017. When is a brooder not truly a brooder? Histological and behavioral investigations into coral reproductive timing and mode. Bachelor's Internship.

  • Nadine da Silva. 2016. Unraveling the family secrets of Colpophyllia natans: Cryptic speciation or intraspecific variation? Master's Internship. (Co-supervisor)

  • Roxane Borruat. 2016. The morphological diversity of the coral family Meandrinidae: Phenotypic divergence of Dichocoenia sp. and Meandrina spp. related to environmental factors. Master's Internship. (Co-supervisor)

  • Ilse van der Meij. 2016. Microbial ecology of juvenile Caribbean corals: How do coral-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions affect coral larval behavior? Bachelor's Thesis. *Received the 2016 Kelly Scientific Thesis Award at UAS Leiden.

  • Petra Nobs. 2016. Settlement decisions of larvae from the stony coral Favia fragum (Esper) in response to bacterial isolates from crustose coralline algae (CCA). Bachelor's Internship.

  • Johanna Gijsbers-Alejandre. 2016. Microbial tools for the conservation of Caribbean corals. Bachelor's Thesis.

  • Robert-Jan van der Houwen. 2015. Mapping and analyzing fertilization biology of the Caribbean coral Colpophyllia natans. Bachelor's Internship.

  • Gijs van Arkel. 2015. Competition between potential coral probiotics and pathogens. Bachelor's Thesis.

  • Rémon Malawauw and Callum Reid. 2015. Assessing population structure and niche differentiation of the coral family Meandrinidae. Bachelor's Internship.

  • Bruce Sellmeijer. 2015. Coral larvae chemotaxis and the ecology of coral probiotic bacteria. Master's Internship.

  • Mirthe Wiltink. 2015. The ecology of coral probiotic bacteria and their potential use as a tool in reef restoration. Master's Internship.

  • Michiel Klaassen. 2014. Testing the Janzen-Connell hypothesis in the brooding Caribbean coral species Favia fragum. Master's Internship.

  • Anoek van Leeuwen. 2014. Examining evidence for coral speciation mechanisms using ecological and genetic differences in four closely-related species of the Meandrinidae family. Bachelor's Thesis.

  • Christopher M. White, 2014. Role of surface characteristics and mobile invertebrates on settlement choices and post-settlement survivorship of three scleractinian coral species. Master's Thesis.


  • The extremely good-looking Friends of the Marhaver Lab

  • CORDAP Coral Accelerator Program

  • NSF ECO-CBET Environmental Convergence Opportunities

  • The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

  • National Geographic Support for Women in Science

  • NSF IOS Growing Convergence Research Program

  • The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

  • National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration

  • WINGS WorldQuest

  • NSF IOS Behavioral Systems

  • NSF OCE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences

  • NSF DDIG in Animal Behavior

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography Stout Family Fellowship

  • NSF IGERT Fellowship

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

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