Christian Voolstra

© F. Latreille/Tara Expéditions


Tara PACIFIC Coordinator (KAUST/ Symbiont&Host) – GR

Dr. Voolstra received his Ph.D. from the Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, followed by a postdoctorate at the University of California, Merced. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Marine Science at KAUST’s Red Sea Research Center and in 2015 became an Associate Professor.  His research area is coral reef genomics, an integrative discipline combining ecological, environmental, microbial, and molecular approaches to understand coral animal and reef ecosystem function. Corals are metaorganisms composed of the coral host, intracellular photosynthetic dinoflagellate symbionts, and associated microbiota. Together these so-called coral holobionts form the keystone species of reef ecosystems. Their carbonate skeletons provide the structural habitat complexity necessary to maintain millions of vertebrate and invertebrate species. Coral reefs are biodiversity reservoirs, provide a significant source of nutrition to coastal people, and represent the medicine cabinets of the 21st century, but their existence is threatened by anthropogenic impact.