Dr. Ruth Gates and her group work on coral reefs, tropical marine ecosystems that protect coastlines, support tourism and provide nutrition to many island nations. Complex interactions between climate change stressors (disturbances in temperature, ocean chemistry, storm frequency and severity) and chronic or acute local impacts (coastal development, pollution and over-fishing) have driven the global deterioration in the quality of these ecosystems. Although the future looks bleak, some corals survive and even thrive in conditions that rapidly kill others. We focus on defining biological traits that drive these differences in performance among corals and reefs. Our goal is to contribute knowledge that expands our basic understanding of how coral reefs function, and informs the management and conservation of these beautiful, important, but threatened ecosystems.

The Gates Lab is located at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, a research unit embedded within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  This facility combines close proximity to a living coral reef with the capacity to support a range of training and research activities that include fieldwork, laboratory experiments and state-of-the-art cell and molecular analyses. The Gates Lab group encompasses researchers at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and professional researcher levels, and we actively promote scientific communication and collaboration by rapidly disseminating research products and hosting a diversity of national and international research visitors. Our research crosses a variety of spatial scales (molecules, cells, tissues, colony, community, reef) and draws on tools from the fields of molecular genetics, functional genomics, bioinformatics, histology, cell biology, biochemistry, physiology and ecology. We have study sites in the Main and North Western Hawaiian Islands, Moorea (French Polynesia), American Samoa, Taiwan and St. John (USVI), and our work is supported by a combination of federal, state and private funding agencies. This website introduces the Gates lab personnel and highlights some of our current research and outreach activities.

Lab Highlights

Sharing Hope for the Worlds Corals

Ruth Gates featured with the Polynesian Voyaging Society