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David is a coral reef biologist who studies the fate of coral reefs in a high CO2 future on molecular to ecosystem scales. In particular he collaborates with computer vision scientists, engineers, chemists and physiologists to develop new techniques for studying the impact of climate change on coral reefs.






Carleton College, Northfield, MN  (Summa Cum Laude, Honors)

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution, Panama City, Panama

Centre for Marine Studies, University of Queensland, Australia



Post Doc

Post Doc



2005 – 2006

2006 – 2011


 Coral Reef Ecology

Coral Disease  Ecology

Ocean Acidification and Coral Reefs



May 2015 – Present    Associate Project Scientist, Integrative Oceanography Division, SIO, UCSD

May 2011 – 2015         Assistant Project Scientist, Integrative Oceanography Division, SIO, UCSD

2014- Present              Affiliated Researcher with the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

2015 – Present             Research Associate with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

2006 – March 2011     Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UQ; University of Queensland Teaching (ResTeach) Appointment

2005 – 2006                Marine Science Network Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

2004                            NSF IGERT Fellow, SIO

1998 – 2001                 Department of Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow


  • Development of the Coral Forest “Coral Reef Teachers’ Guide” used Internationally by K-12 teachers. 1996-1997; Designed, built, and led the construction of the “Caribbean Coral Reef Exhibit” at the Birch Aquarium, San Diego, CA. 2000-2003; Co-author and scientific advisor on the “IMAX Coral Reef teacher’s guide”. 2002.
  • Lecturer and course leader for the Australian Marine Science coral reef program, The University of California Australia program and the Stanford off-campus coral reef biology program. 2006-2011.
  • Lecturer and Coordinator of the Climate Science section of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation intensive cross-disciplinary summer course for Masters and PhD students. 2011-2013
  • Lead author and project scientist on a NSF “Computer Vision Coral Ecology” for $1.9 million, to use computer vision technology for automated coral reef monitoring. 2009-2012; PI and lead author on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Large Infrastructure Grant (LIEF) for $530,000 for  “The Heron Island Climate Change Observatory: An In-Situ Ocean Acidification and Carbonate Chemistry Monitoring Platform; PI on ARC Discovery Grant for $480,000: “The impact of ocean acidification on the reproductive output, fertilization, larval development, and recruitment of key Australian marine organisms.”
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer for: PNAS, Proceeding of the Royal Society B, PLos One, Marine and Freshwater Research, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Coral Reefs, Journal of Experimental Biology and Limnology and Oceanography:Methods
  • Featured in BBC Horizons series “Death of the Oceans”, in a Rolling Stone Magazine article on climate change, a TIME Magazine article on ocean acidification, on PBS public radio programs, and in several national and international newspaper articles on ocean acidification.


AAUS Scientific Diver (100 ft. certification) since 1998, Smithsonian Scientific Diver since 1998, PADI Divemaster since 1997, ADAS (Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme) Commercial Diver since 2005, Certified CPR, First Aid and Emergency O2 Provider, CA, Australia and Panama certified small boat operator.