I entered the Donahue lab through the Zoology (now Biology) Department in 2009. I am broadly interested in how climate stressors impact ecosystem processes and how the relationship between climate stressors and reef processes change over space and time. My PhD dissertation is focused on 3 questions relating to the impacts of environmental variability on the accretion-erosion balance on Hawaiian coral reefs (see bioerosion tab for more info): 1) What are the baseline net erosion rates across the Hawaiian Archipelago and how do these rates change across different spatial scales (i.e. within a reef, within an island, and across the Hawaiian Archipelago), 2) what are the main environmental divers of the accretion-erosion balance on coral reefs, and 3) how will the accretion-erosion balance shift with the predicted rise in ocean acidity and sea surface temperatures? For info on these projects see the Bioerosion Tab under Projects.
I began my academic journey in the Biological Sciences Department at Florida State University. Here, I earned a B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry and certificate in marine resource ecology. As a marine certificate student, I conducted research on fiddler crab thermoregulation techniques with Dr. Pablo Munguia and analyzed the symbiotic relationship between cleaner shrimp and sea anemones with Dr. Michael Childress. Post-graduation, I took a short academic hiatus and worked as a field/laboratory technician for a long-term seagrass monitoring program for a US Geological Survey funded project. I very quickly realized how much I missed being a student and entered the Marine Science Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I earned my Masters of Science studying the impacts of sponge-produced dissolved inorganic nitrogen on coral reef seaweed communities in the Florida Keys. My study site was on Conch Reef-the location of the Aquarius Reef Base Underwater Habitat.
As a student in Megan’s lab, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work in the remote and protected Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (see http://isnotboring.wordpress.com/ for pictures and stories in field), present research at national and international conferences, and play in a very prestigious lab recorder quartet. I was also awarded the NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship to study bioerosion in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Please feel free to contact me at Silbiger@hawaii.edu
Check out my google scholar page for my publications here.