Joanie Kleypas, Scientist III

Research

Joanie Kleypas is a marine ecologist/geologist that focuses on how coral reefs and other marine ecosystems are affected by changes in the Earth's atmosphere and climate. Global warming, for example, is causing tropical ocean temperatures to increase faster than corals can adapt, resulting in high rates of coral bleaching. This is one of the major causes of the present, rapid degradation of coral reef ecosystems. Ocean acidification is another major threat to coral reefs, because as the oceans absorb much of the CO2 released to the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and deforestation, seawater pH declines and reduces the ability of corals and many other organisms to build their skeletons and shells.

Joanie strives to conduct research that 1) better informs policy makers on what the marine ecological consequences of various atmospheric levels of CO2 will be (and thus help set CO2 emission targets), and 2) guides efforts to conserve coral reefs and other marine ecoystems during the high-CO2 window that is inevitable over the next few decades.

Education

PhD: Tropical Marine Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, Australia
1991

MS: Marine Science
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC
1981

BS: Oceanography/Marine Biology
Lamar University
Beaumont, TX
1979