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

New NCEAS working group collaborative paper published in Marine Biology

Edmunds PJ, Burgess S, Putnam HM, Baskett ML, Bramanti L, Fabina NS, Han X, Lesser MP, Madin JS, Wall CB, Yost DM, and Gates RD. (2014) Evaluating the causal basis of ecological success within the Scleractinia: An integral projection model approach. Marine Biology 10.1007/s00227-014-2547-y

New NCEAS working group collaborative paper published in Plos One

Edmunds PJ et al. (2014) Persistence and Change in Community Composition of Reef Corals through Present, Past, and Future Climates. PLoS ONE 9(10): e107525. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107525

Gates lab publication highlighted at PeerJ

Gates Lab publication entitled “Multi-gene analysis of Symbiodinium dinoflagellates: a perspective on rarity, symbiosis, and evolution” has just been selected as one of the Top 10 most noteworthy coral articles that PeerJ has published to date by PeerJ editorial panel.