Rosie Steingberg

Soft Coral Biologist

My name is Rosie Steinberg, and I'm obsessed with the ocean. I always have been, ever since I was a kid. I spent all my holidays in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, and spent all my free time working on and beautifying my Dad's three reef aquariums. I am currently studying a local NSW soft coral called the Cauliflower Soft Coral, and I'm completely in love with it. From its fluffy pink aesthetic to the invertebrates and seahorses that live in it's branches, this is the perfect study specimen for me. I'm so excited to work with artists to let people know that this coral exists, that it is important, and that we can protect it and all the creatures that call it home. 

Tess Moriarty

Coral Disease Specialist

My research is centered around coral health with respect to disease and predation. The project is identifying characteristic microbial communities and metabolite profiles seen in healthy and diseased states. One section of the project is working with NASA to help predict coral disease outbreaks in the Indo-Pacific. With this project, I aim to find techniques to identify coral diseases before visual macro identification is present. A prediction system in place would allow scientists and reef park managers to manage and mitigate disease outbreaks as early as possible.

Charlotte Page

Coral Biologist

As an artist, and a marine biologist I really love the idea of being able to combine both disciplines to reach a larger audience. Art for me, in all its forms, is one of the purest ways of communicating, whether it be of concepts and ideas or simply the beauty of an image. Art as a tool that can universally speak out too and reach so many, makes it such a powerful form of communicating!

My research looks to understand how environmental conditions may be causing variability in severity of coral bleaching seen over the past decades, with the idea that coral reef areas that show these suites of factors may be more resistant to the effects of climate change into the future. I am very interested in portraying this story within the wider concept of people, climate change and the importance of the 1.5°C target set out by the UNFCC. As a scientist who dabbles in art, I'd love to work with artists who would be open to expressing similar issues.

Jesse Bergman

Tropicalising Reef Ecologist

Marine biologist, research technician, Scuba Santa - my research career bounced around both the cooler and warmer waters of the Pacific before settling on the east coast of Australia, where I am currently studying the consequences of climate change on ecosystem functions in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. These “tropicalised” environments are ecosystems in transition, where the climate-mediated range shifts from tropical fish into temperate reefs are causing the disappearance of formerly prolific kelp forests.

 

My research focuses on the ecosystem response of this novel rearrangement of corals, fish, and algae in a tropcialised reef, providing a framework for developing climate change adaptation strategies in response to warming ocean temperatures.

 

Science and art coming together produces a creative, visual interpretation of important research that can so often be confined to black lines of text on a white page - a great way to spread awareness and generate interest about a topic.

Melissa Pappas

 Coral Symbiosis Genetist

My research focuses on the essential yet fragile relationship between coral and their microscopic algae termed zooxanthellae. Coral bleaching occurs when the associated symbiotic algae, which provide the coral its major food source, are expelled from the animal host. These algae give coral its color, so when they are expelled, the coral appears white. 

I aim to find which types of algae are best suited for high temperatures as a result of climate change. Hopefully my research will aid in the conservation of coral reefs in our warming planet.

Using art to communicate both my specific research and scientific research in general can reach a larger audience and gain more awareness of these important scientific questions.

Alexander Fordyce

Coral Bioerosion Researcher

My research examines how the small communities of algae that live inside the skeleton of corals dissolve reefs during marine heatwaves. I love the small, unseen processes that are driving the world.

 

I've also worked a lot with charismatic megafauna and their behaviour while I lived in Mozambique, and completed my masters looking at fish personalities and how they make decisions.

 

Science can be so dense and inaccessible sometimes, so I'm always excited to try and communicate science in relatable and understandable ways, such as through underwater photography and blog writing, with the hope of inspiring others with the same fascination of the natural world that I have.