OS People

Joanie Kleypas, Scientist III


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 guides efforts to conserve coral reefs and other marine ecoystems during the high-CO2 window that is inevitable over the next few decades. She is currently using high-resolution modeling to address these issues in the Coral Triangle, a region of extreme marine biodiversity in the western tropical Pacific.


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

Recent Publications

Kleypas JA, 2015. Oceans: Invisible barriers to dispersal. Science 348 (6239): 1086-1087.

Kleypas JA, FS Castruccio, EN Curchitser, E Mcleod, 2015. The impact of ENSO on coral heat stress in the western equatorial Pacific, Global Change Biology, 21(7): 2525-2539, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12881.

Freeman, LA, JA Kleypas, AJ Miller, 2013. Coral reef habitat response to climate change scenarios, PLoS One 8912: Article Number: e82404

Castruccio, FS, EN Curchitser, J Kleypas, 2013. A high-resolution model for investigating climate- driven responses of marine ecosystems in the Coral Triangle, Journal of Geophysical Research 118(11): 6123-6144, doi: 10.1002/2013JC009196

CGD People





Joanie Kleypas, Scientist III