Lab News

Aquatic Virus Workshop 2018

June 2018: Adrienne, Cas and Lauren presented at the Aquatic Virus Workshop (AVW9) in Lincoln, Nebraska. Love this conference - check it out at!

Lauren AVW9 poster

L to R: Lauren and Cas rock their posters during the poster session.

After the workshop was over, Cas and Lauren relaxed by lounging on a local reptile.

Field work along the TX coast

June 2018: Pedro and Cas teamed up with Dr. Brandi Reese from TAMUCC and her three graduate students Rachel, Megan and Morgan, to conduct day-time and night-time sampling of water and sediments in Port Aransas mangrove and salt marsh habitats. Follow us on instagram (@correalab) to see some drone footage of the sampled area.

Congrats to Carsten!

June 2018: Cas was awarded a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) to support his work on the activity of microbial communities in salt marsh and mangrove habitats along the Texas coastline, focusing in particular on the role of viruses in controlling bacterial growth.

mangrove Cas

Cas and Dennis at the 2018 Cassiopea Workshop

May 2018: Dennis and Cas participated in the 2018 Cassiopea Workshop at the Key Largo Marine Research Laboratory in Florida. There, they learned all about the biology and ecology of Cassiopea - the upside-down jellyfish - and conducted a heat stress experiment to look at the effects of temperature on Cassiopea and its symbionts

Collecting zygotes from adult Cassiopea medusae for research on their developmental biology.

A Florida mangrove stand full of Cassiopea andromeda and Cassiopea frondosa near the Key Largo Marine Research Laboratory.

Congrats to Elaine!

May 2018: Elaine graduated from Rice with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. She received a Distinction in Research and the Julian Huxley Award for Excellence! This fall, Elaine will begin her Ph.D. studies in the Humphries Lab at the University of Rhode Island. We will miss you, Elaine!

Follow @CorreaLab on Instagram and Twitter!

April 2018: You can now follow our EPIC Science Adventures on Instagram and Twitter via @CorreaLab. See you there! 

Ady dive entry


Partnership with Moody Gardens

April 2018:  Moody Gardens has begun a 3-year collaboration with Rice University to support global coral research, conservation efforts, and public engagement! Moody’s Dive Safety Officer Jake Emmert is currently assisting Lauren in the field at Gump Research Station in Mo’orea, French Polynesia. The team is working in the field and lab to investigate the role of microbial communities in coral reef health and decline.

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Photos (L to R): Lauren sampling corals that are part of a manipulative nutrient enrichment experiment. After the dive, Jake prepares a sample for further analysis back in the lab. This work will ultimately provide insight into the impact of terrestrial runoff on the health of coral reefs.

Cas presents at the Ecological Integration Symposium

April 2018:  Cas presented on how microbiome flexibility in coral species aligns with different life-history strategies at the 2018 Ecological Integration Symposium at Texas A&M in College Station.



Congrats to Jordan!

April 2018: Jordan received the Garden Club of America's Clara Carter Higgins Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship and the Dr. John E. Parish Fellowship for Summer Travel to support her summer research in Mo’orea (French Polynesia). Way to go!

Jordan Pseudodiploria

New paper reveals genetic changes associated with range expansion in Oculina

April 2018: Cas is co-author on a Molecular Ecology paper titled "Host-targeted RAD-Seq reveals genetic changes in the coral Oculina patagonica associated with range expansion along the Spanish Mediterranean coast" by Karine Posbic Leydet, Carsten Grupstra, Rafel Coma, Marta Ribes, Michael Hellberg

Congrats to Ph.D.-bound Elaine!

March 2018: Congratulations to Elaine, who will begin her Ph.D. studies at the University of Rhode Island in the Fall of 2018. We will miss you, Elaine, but are excited to follow your next adventures!

Photo: Elaine (pink hat) explores the Rhode Island coast with her future lab mates.

Rice Oceans Club hosts coral reef screen-printing event

February 2018: Students were able to screen print posters, t-shirts, canvas bags, and more! Thank you to Priscilla Li from Wiess College for helping make the screens.

screen printing ROC
screen printing ROC 2

AAAS Classroom Science Day

February 2018: Elaine spoke to 6th graders at Lanier Middle School regarding her experiences in science as part of AAAS’ Classroom Science Days.

Hot Science, Cool Talks

February 2018: Adrienne spoke about “Texas’ Own Coral Reefs: Weathering the Storm” at Hot Science, Cool Talks in Austin, TX. You can view our download the talk here: Jordan, Lauren, Cas and Dennis showed attendees how scientists collect data on coral reef health.

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Flower Garden Banks 2016 Localized Mortality Event Mini-Symposium

February 2018: Adrienne, Cas, Dennis, Jenn and Lauren participated in the Flower Garden Banks Mortality Event Mini-Symposium at the NOAA office in Galveston, TX. Adrienne presented the lab’s work on coral microbial communities associated with healthy and affected corals during the 2016 event.

LoCas are AAUS scientific divers!

January 2018: The dynamic scientific diving buddy team known as LoCas (a.k.a. Lauren and Cas) is now AAUS certified. Thanks to DSO Jake Emmert and Moody Gardens for the training and logistical support!

LoCas goes AAUS

LoCas, the World Famous Diving Mutualists. 

Photos (L to R): Classroom and diving phenotypes, respectively.

Reef Microbiome Workshop

January 2018: Adrienne participated in a diverse and engaging workshop on the Reef Microbiome ( Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados. Many thanks to the organizers: David Walsh, Vanessa Dumeaux, and Mike Hallett (Concordia University)!

Congrats to Anna and Elaine!

December 2017: Anna Knochel and Elaine Shen received awards from Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid-of-Research and the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, respectively. Way to go!

Carsten presents at ECRS

December 2017: Cas explained how “Differential microbiome restructuring in coral species upon adverse environmental conditions provides insight into holobiont flexibility” at the European Coral Reef Symposium in Oxford, England. Props to Cas and the Voolstra Lab at KAUST re: this work!

Cas at ECRS Dec 2017


Lauren, Cas and Adrienne enrich for acronyms at the MCR LTER AIM

November 2017: The Correa Lab became AS (Acronym Savvy) at the MCR LTER AIM (Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research All Investigators Meeting) this week in Santa Barbara, California. 

MCR LTER AIM mtg Nov17


Scientific diving @ Rice

November 2017: As part of Rice's Vision for the Second Century and 100 Ideas for Rice's Future Initiative, the Student Association hosted President Leebron, Provost Miranda, Dean Hutch, and Vice President Kevin Kirby to hear 16 pitches from undergraduates. Elaine was chosen to present for her idea to establish an AAUS scientific diving program at Rice! 


Has Harvey Runoff Impacted Texas Coral Reefs?

October 2017: The Correa Lab investigated the impacts of freshwater runoff from Hurricane Harvey on coral reefs in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS, NW Gulf of Mexico), in conjunction with scientists from Boston University (Dr. Sarah Davies), Texas A&M University (Drs. Kathryn Shamberger and Jason Sylvan), and the University of Houston - Clear Lake (Dr. Lory Santiago-Vazquez), as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Fortunately, no mass mortality was observed from a total of three sites visited on our local Texas reefs over the course of a 5-day research cruise. Samples are currently being processed in the lab to determine whether coral microbial communities shifted in response to the low salinity waters that reached the Banks in September and October of 2017.

Correa Lab Harvey Cruise October 2017

Correa Lab participants in the Rapid FGB 2017 Cruise about to board the R/V Point Sur. From left to right: Ph.D. student Carsten Grupstra, Ph.D. student Lauren Howe-Kerr, Adrienne Correa, Undergraduate student Anna Knochel, and Undergraduate student Jordan Sims.

Ady dive entry

Adrienne headed out on a dive to collect coral and microbial samples.

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Divers returning from sample collection.Lauren Cas Anna process samples

From left: Anna Knochel, Cas Grupstra, and Lauren Howe-Kerr process coral samples for downstream analyses post-dive.

Check out press on our research here:

Lauren wins 2nd place in 6th Annual Marine Science Competition!

October 2017: Lauren's senior thesis paper won 2nd place in the 6th Annual Marine Science Competition, held by ASA and NAMEPA. Congrats!

Lauren NAMEPA Award 2Lauren NAMEPA award

'(Sea)Food for Thought' featured in The Rice Thresher

September 2017: Check out this article featuring Elaine’s course "(Sea)Food For Thought: A Fishy Investigation of Marine Resource Use” (COLL 127). The course examines contemporary issues in marine science as they relate to the seafood through multidisciplinary perspectives. 

Photo credit: Tina Liu

MVP (Mo’orea Virus Project) Fieldwork begins!

September 2017: Cas, Lauren and Adrienne collaborated with two Oregon State University labs (Drs. Becky Vega and Andrew Thurber) to begin a long-term field experiment in Mo’orea, French Polynesia. We are studying the direct and indirect impacts of viruses on coral reefs. Lauren and Cas also “snuck in” a tank experiment examining when viral production occurs during heat stress. Go Team!

Lauren checks a site Moorea

Lauren checks a field site for coral species of interest.

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Cas helps sample coral heads for Correa Lab Alum Becca Maher’s experiment on the response of coral microbiomes to nutrient and temperature stress.

PVID samplingCas and the Coral Power Tower

Adrienne, Lauren and Cas process Pocillopora coral fragments during a time point from their coral bleaching/viral production experiment.

Cas and his 'Coral Power Tower’ prototype. Cas is photographing coral skeleton fragments so we can model their surface area to calibrate chlorophyll and symbiotic algae density measurements back at Rice.

going insane

We were deeply in the groove after blasting the tissues off coral fragments and photographing their skeletons for several days straight. I can Feel It Still...

Jordan makes an amazing Vaccuum Trap!

Summer 2017: Jordan somehow managed to make this Vaccuum Trap (left) from scratch based on a deceptively “straightforward” sketch. And it works, too. GO JORDAN! 

Jordan vaccuum pumpthis sketch looks helpful but it is not


Check out “Seas the Day”, Elaine’s blog on her senior thesis research in Panama

Summer 2017: Elaine won a Wagoner Foreign Study Fellowship and is Panama this summer quantifying mangrove and seagrass diversity using environmental DNA approaches. Follow her adventures here:

A final video compilation from Elaine's summer research:


Tropical Field Biology in Belize!

May 2017: Tropical Field Biology (EBIO 319) students are having unBelizeable adventures! The course (co-taught by Correa and Solomon) is offered Summer Session I. Read the course blog, Download the EBIO 319 application here! 

Congrats to Grace and Lauren!

May 2017: Grace Cullinan (on left) and Lauren Howe-Kerr (right) graduated with their B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Lauren also received the Department of BioSciences Julian Huxley Award. Congratulations to you both!

grace graduatesLauren Clark P Read Award

CIFAR-GBMF Continuum of Persistence Virus Workshop

May 2017: Adrienne was in Cascais, Portugal for the CIFAR-GBMF Continuum of Persistence Virus Workshop. Great meeting!

Elaine Shen and Lauren Howe-Kerr's coral reef-inspired works showcased by Fossilized Houston

April 2017: Elaine Shen (with Vidya Giri) and Lauren Howe-Kerr (with Rachel Buissereth) produced coral reef-inspired works as part of Art and Environment: Making Alongside Coral Reefs (ENST 477) this semester. Check out their amazing pieces! 

Behavioral (Plasti{c)ity}, by Elaine Shen and Vidya Girl:

Learn more about Elaine and Vidya’s project at:

Burning Underwater: a vigil for coral reefs, by Lauren Howe-Kerr and Rachel Buissereth:

Learn more about Lauren and Rachel’s project at:

Like There Is No Tomorrow - student art showcase

April 2017: Students in Art and Environment: Making Alongside Coral Reefs (ENST 477) showcased their works at “Like There Is No Tomorrow”. Check out all the amazing projects at:

Correa Lab at RURS

April 2017: Grace Cullinan and Lauren Howe-Kerr presented posters on their senior thesis research at the Rice University Research Symposium.

Grace RURS 2017

Grace Cullinan and her work on the density, abundance and distribution of bioeroding Christmas Tree Worms in the northwest Gulf of MexicoLauren RURS 2017.

Lauren Howe-Kerr and her research on the role of Symbiodinium community structure in the stress response of a dominant reef-building coral, Acropora millepora.

NOAA’s Ocean Discovery Day

March 2017: Adrienne, Lauren, and other members of Rice Oceans Club helped train the next generation of scientists at NOAA’s Ocean Discovery Day in Galveston, TX! More than 1300 visitors attended the event.

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Photos: Lauren Howe-Kerr (left) and Adrienne Correa (right) assist a young scientist with data collection (credit: Michelle Johnston); NOAA Scientists Michelle Johnston (left) and Raven Walker (right) explain talk about the impacts of invasive lionfish on native reef species (credit: Adrienne Correa).

New wave of student Coral Reef Blog posts

March 2017: From the lionfish invasion to white band disease, check out these new posts on coral reef ecology, evolution, and conservation biology by Rice U. EBIO 372 (Coral Reef Ecosystems) students!

Lab Alum Rebecca Maher awarded NSF GRFP!

March 2017: Rebecca Maher (Correa Lab Alum ’16) was selected for a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program award. Congrats, Becca! WAY TO GO!


Coral reef-inspired screen printing in ENST 477

February 2017: Coral reef-inspired screen printing by Art & Environment: Coral Reefs (ENST 477) students at Rice's Moody Center for the Arts. Thanks to Tony Day for leading the charge!

ENST 477 in action

Photo credit: Tony Day

Elaine & Lauren are Wagoner Foreign Study Scholars!

February 2017: Congrats to Lauren and Elaine, who were both selected as Wagoner Foreign Study Scholars for the summer of 2017! Lauren will conduct research on the impacts of viruses on coral reefs in Mo’orea (French Polynesia), while Elaine will use environmental DNA techniques to quantify biodiversity in Panamanian mangrove and seagrass habitats (in collaboration with Dr. Scott Egan’s Lab, Rice U.).

Photos: Elaine Shen (left) and Lauren Howe-Kerr (right) in action.

Lauren & Elaine befriend meifauna at GoMRI BITMaB

January 2017: Elaine and Lauren were selected to participate in the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative’s Metagenomics and Bioinformatics (GoMRI BITMaB) Workshop at TAMUCC. Check out their mystery worm!

Lauren Howe-Kerr awarded Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid-of-Research!

December 2016: Lauren received a Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid-of-Research in support of her senior thesis research on the role of microbial symbionts in host acclimatization to environmental change. Congrats, Lauren!

giarlogoLauren Howe-Kerr headshot

Tide pooling

December 2016: Members of the Moorea Virus Project (MVPs) had a great time helping Santa Barbara students learn about plants and animals of the rocky intertidal zone.

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On the left: A ‘mermaid’s purse’ or egg case from a skate, ray or shark. On the right: Tide poolers on the go!

Rebecca Maher wins 3rd place in 5th Annual Marine Science Competition!

October 2016: Becca’s senior thesis paper won 3rd place in the 5th Annual Marine Science Competition, held by ASA and NAMEPA. Congrats!

Becca NAMEPA awardAMA

Adrienne is a NOAA diver!

September 2016: Adrienne spent an eventful and chilly week in Seattle becoming a NOAA diver. This certification will make it easier to conduct research in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Time for fieldwork!

NOAA diving program logoNOAA dive training Akil beach cove

Photo credit (right): Raven Walker

Field work at the Flower Garden Banks

September 2016: Becca Maher (Correa Lab Alum ‘16, OSU Ph.D. student) and Adrienne collect data on barnacle distributions and sizes within a dominant reef-building coral (O. franksi) in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (NW Gulf of Mexico). 

Adrienne barnacle aperturesBecca Maher barnacle groundtruth

Becca Maher (left) and Adrienne Correa (right) on the job, counting and measuring barnacle sizes. (Photo credits: Jesse Cancelmo)

Becca and Adrienne were able to conduct this research while enjoying the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council Team-building trip! Trip participants shown below, enjoying a sunny day on the M/V Fling.

Is Tropical Field Biology Fun? You better Belize it.

August 2016: Check out these two great articles about EBIO 319 (Tropical Field Biology) in Belize by Mandy Weaver (certified TFB ’16) and Dr. Scott Solomon (TFB Pro, Calypso).

EBIO 319 (co-taught by Correa and Solomon) is offered Summer Session I. READ THE COURSE BLOG, DOWNLOAD THE EBIO 319 APPLICATION HERE! 

(Photo credit: Scott Solomon)

NSF award!

August 2016: Excited to announce that we received an NSF award to study the effects of viruses on host health and ecosystem function!


Adrienne and Rebecca present at ICRS 2016

June 2016: Adrienne and Becca presented at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Becca presented a poster on her senior thesis research (email Rebecca to request a copy) and Adrienne presented in the session she co-chaired on “The Coral Reef Microbiome and Reef Microbial Interactions and Changes”.

ICRS poster Becca

NPR Houston Matters - Rice University Explores Coral Reef Restoration

June 2016: Adrienne discusses global and local threats to coral reefs on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

New paper out in Nature Communications

June 2016: Check out our new paper in Nature Communications… "Overfishing and nutrient pollution interact with temperature to disrupt coral reefs down to microbial scales”. **Press Release**

Caribbean coral with competing sponges and macroalgae

Photo: Caribbean stony coral with competing sponges and macroalgae.

Coral Reef Outreach for World Oceans Day!

June 2016: This week, we did a lot of outreach about the value of coral reefs and the threats to these ecosystems… just in time for World Oceans Day (June 8th)! Adrienne presented to participants in the Young Owls Leadership Program, then Elaine Shen, Maya Iyer, Marie Jacobsen and Rice BioSciences alum Cora McKenzie ’16 helped several hundred visitors at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) how to quantify metrics of coral reef health. Finally, Adrienne gave an evening lecture on “The Global Coral Bleaching Event: Causes, Consequences, and What You Can Do” at HMNS.

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Scenes from HMNS’ World Oceans Day celebration (left to right): Elaine talks with HMNS visitors about what lives on a coral reef; a marine-biologist-in-training shows off her live/dead coral data; and volunteers Maya and Elaine display key coral reef tools: a quadrat and a transect tape.


The evening lecture was held in the HMNS Burke Baker Planetarium. It was so cool to see coral reefs projected onto a dome! (photo credits: Elaine Shen)


Thanks to Elaine Shen and Rice BioSciences alum Cora McKenzie ’16 for running the 2-D Reef Replicas at the evening lecture! (photo credit: Elaine Shen)

Congrats to Becca and Elaine!

May 2016: Congrats to Becca and Elaine! Graduating senior Becca was awarded the EEB Julian Huxley Award for Excellence and a Distinction in Research and Creative Works. Elaine received the award for Best EEB RURS Poster. Way to go!

Elaine Becca Ady BioSciences awards 2016

Elaine (left) and Becca (right) with their awards! (photo credit: Susan Cates)

‘Not Many Other Fish in the Sea’ in the Catalyst!

May 2016: Check out Elaine’s article on overfishing for Rice Catalyst!

The Power of Flexible Space

April 2016: Adrienne contributed a reflection piece to the Center for Teaching Excellence’s Spring Newsletter, about teaching in the CTE’s experimental classroom, Herring 129.

CTE spring newsletter 2016

Correa Lab Members nailed it at RURS!

April 2016: Rebecca Maher, Grace Cullinan, Elaine Shen and Anna Knochel presented posters at the Rice University Research Symposium.

From left to right: Anna, Grace, Adrienne, Becca, and Elaine at the banquet after RURS.

Becca and Elaine RURS

Congrats to Becca and Grace for nabbing 1st and 2nd prize from the Shell Center for Sustainability! Adrienne also received the Dinstinguished Research Mentor Award.

NPR Houston Matters - Rice University Explores Coral Reef Restoration

April 2016: Adrienne discusses coral bleaching and restoration on NPR’s Houston Matters. 


Field work in Moorea!

March 2016: Adrienne joins a team of scientists from Oregon State University and University of California - Santa Barbara to study viruses associated with coral reefs under high nutrient conditions.

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Images (from left to right): Moorea is located in the South Pacific Ocean (credit: Google Earth); Sampling a coral colony (credit: Andrew Thurber, OSU); Pocilloporid colonies on the Moorean fore reef (A. Thurber, OSU).

New paper out in Frontiers in Microbiology!

February 2016: Check out our new paper in Frontiers in Microbiology… "Viral Outbreak in Corals Associated with an In Situ Bleaching Event: Atypical Herpes-Like Viruses and a New Megavirus Infecting Symbiodinium”. It was a top story for NSF’s Science 360 News! **Press Release**

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Photo: Bleached acroporid corals exposed during low tide on the Heron Island reef flat in March of 2011.

Congrats to Rebecca!

January 2016: Congratulations to Rebecca on her acceptance to Oregon State University’s Microbiology Ph.D. program! Becca will enter Dr. Rebecca Vega Thurber’s lab in the Fall of 2016. 

Rebecca Maher awarded Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid-of-Research!

December 2015: Becca received a Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid-of-Research to support her field work in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Congrats, Becca!


Evolution Day at HMNS

November 2015: Students from Adrienne’s course "Introduction to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology” engaged visitors to the Houston Museum of Natural Science by distilling concepts from evolutionary biology into a series of interactive games and activities.

Evolution Day 2015

Endangered Species Lunch Talk

November 2015: Adrienne will discuss endangered corals at the Endangered Species Lunch Talk - November 23rd from 12-1 PM at Farnsworth Pavilion.

Drs. Cassidy Johnson, Adrienne Correa, Amy Dunham, and Jim Blackburn presented at the Endangered Species Lunch.

The Marine Ecologist

October 2015: Adrienne, "The Marine Ecologist", is in Rice Magazine!

The Marine Ecologist

Science Cafe - Taking the Vital Signs of our Backyard Reef

September 2015: Adrienne will give a Science Cafe on coral reefs - "Taking the Vital Signs of our Backyard Reef" - September 1st from 6:30-7:30 PM at Black Labrador Pub!

science cafe pics ady

Elaine posts on Belize in the Catalyst!

August 2015: Check out Elaine's blog post on Belize for Rice Catalyst! Yay Elaine!

Image credit: Rice Undergraduate Science Research Journal

Adrienne joins FGBNMS Advisory Council

August 2015: Adrienne appointed to a Research Seat in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

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Image credit:

2-D Reef Replicas at 4-H Summer Program

June 2015: Rebecca Maher contributes to 4-H Summer Leadership Program for high school students on coral reef ecology with NOAA at TAMU-G. Go Becca!

4H camp becca

World Oceans Day

June 2015: Adrienne and Rice Undergraduates Rebecca Maher, Elaine Shen, and Leah Topper bring the 2-D coral reefs to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to celebrate World Oceans Day!


Measuring Reefs with the Young Owls Leadership Program

June 2015: Participants in the Young Owls Leadership Program ‘dove’ on 2-D Reef Replicas and learned how to quantify metrics of coral reef health like coral reef ecologists!

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Saltwater Not Included: SCALE-UP Tools For Teaching Coral Reef Ecology

April 2015: Adrienne presented a poster on teaching with 2-D Reef Replicas at the Center for Teaching Excellence’s 2nd Excellence in Teaching Awards. Contact Adrienne if you’re interested in making your own 2-D ecosystem replicas!

Correa CTE poster April 2015

© Adrienne Simoes Correa 2016