Katie Lubarsky

katie_picI am a Masters student in the Donahue lab, and I am broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms that drive coral reef health, growth, and decay as a way to inform effective management decisions. In 2011, I received a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology from UCLA where I studied the effects of nutrient and herbivory levels on algal defenses. Following graduation, I traveled to coastal Ecuador to study the effects of water quality on freshwater shrimp. Most recently, I spent a year in the Dominican Republic working on a coral gardening project aimed at restoring staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) and katie_workpicseveral other community conservation initiatives.

My current research focuses on the effect of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) on the rates of coral growth and bioerosion in Maunalua Bay, Oahu.  I hypothesize that the nutrient-rich, low salinity groundwater will drive changes in water chemistry (namely pH), leading to spatial differences in calcification and bioerosion rates across the groundwater gradient. A more in-depth summary of my project can be found under the “Projects” tab.

During the course of my graduate work, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with various private research organizations. Most recently, I have travelled to the Northern Great Barrier Reef and the Chagos Archipelago as a fish surveyor with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. Earlier, I spent a week aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor as a marine mammal observer.



1. Chan, A.Y., K. Lubarsky, K.A. Judy, and P. Fong (2012). Nutrient addition increases consumption rates of tropical algae with different initial palatabilities. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 465: 25-31.

2. Huang, B., K. Lubarsky, T. Teng, and D.T. Blumstein (2011). Take only pictures, leave only… fear? The effects of photography on the West Indian anole Anolis cristatellus. Current Zoology, 57: 77-82.