The Team

Interested in joining our team or collaborating with us? Just drop us a line here.

Principal Investigator

Bastian Bentlage, PhD
Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 2.38.04 PMBastian studied zoology, biological oceanography, and ecology in Germany before pursuing a PhD in evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas. He spent four and a half years as a postdoc at the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution in the DC Metro Area before joining the faculty of the Marine Laboratory in Guam in 2016. Bastian is mostly interested in understanding patterns and processes of marine biodiversity evolution. Being able to see coral reefs quite literally from his office window, his research efforts have broadened to the local and global stressors affecting coral health.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Gaurav Shimpi, PhD
Gaurav received his PhD in Germany, and then moved back to India for while to study coral resilience and invertebrate biodiversity. Since then, he decided to join us and help build up our laboratory infrastructure. He pursues questions in cnidarian evolution and resilience, primarily focusing on the mitochondrial contribution to coral resilience.

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Research Associates

Colin Lock
Colin is a talented diver and scientist. He recently graduated with his Master’s from UoG where he used coral transcriptomics to study coral stress responses. He is continuing that work with us as a full time research associate.

Graduate Students (MS)

Melissa Gabriel
Melissa is a pharmacist by trade and joined us to study coral health, in hopes of furthering our understanding of signs of coral stress. She studies how seasonality (wet versus dry season) and associated differences in terrestrial runoff affect gene expression in Porites corals.

Colin Anthony
Colin has a unique background in writing, photography, and design. He uses these skills in conjunction with flow cytometry and metabarcoding to reveal acclimation patterns of coral-associated photosystems. He is currently visiting Tohoku University in Japan to advance his bioinformatic skills.

Therese Miller
Therese came from Florida after studying with Dr. Gustav Pauli. She is a resilient lab scientist and strong swimmer working to reveal microbial shifts in pollution-associated corals. She has also maintained her interest in invertebrate systematics.

Pablo De la Vega Basurto
Pablo previously worked as an engineer, but became interested in biology after getting into mushroom cultivation and beer brewing. Pablo has been pivotal in setting up our microbiology lab and is now pursuing questions in gene expression and metagenomics of coral-associated bacteria.

Carlos Tramonte
After growing up in Florida, Carlos studied coral biology in Boston with Dr. Sarah Davies. Now he uses molecular ecology to better understand the ecological succession and resilience of Guam’s coral communities.

Research Technicians

Loreto Paulino Jr.
Loreto is still an undergrad at UoG studying chemistry and math. Yet, he has gained an interest in environmental science and its biological counterparts. Lo is an integral part of the team developing technical protocols, generating data, and maintaining animal cultures.

Undergraduate Students

Anela Duenas
Anela grew up and studied biology on the neighboring island of Saipan. She is now pursuing her undergraduate degree at UoG full time and has been a cornerstone of the Marine Lab the last few years. While she has studied everything from algal systematics to fish life history, she has decided to focus her research on coral reef resilience.

Rebecca Salas
Rebecca joined as a freshman at UoG and is a Guam native. She uses upside-down jellyfish as a model for coral resilience and acclimation. She recently presented her impressive work in Puerto Rico at the SACNAS conference.


Abram Townsend (MS Biology) – Abe studied the population genetics of blue corals, but was also well known for his aquaculture capabilities. He has now moved to the states to work in aquaculture.

Justin Berg (MS Biology) – Justin used metabarcoding and microfragmentation to study the succession of coral-associated microbes (the microbiome) across an environmental gradient. Now a PhD student at University of Hawai’i Mānoa.

Jordan Gault (MS Biology; co-advised with Alex Kerr) – Jordan is interested in inferring macro-evolutionary patterns and processes using phylogenetic comparative methods. For his thesis, he used Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods to infer the history of photosymbiosis in corals. Now a PhD student in Germany.

Jordan Barcinas (BS Biology) – Used Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorescence to study the stress response of the symbionts in massive Porites corals.

Krystal Palacios (BS Biology) – Genetic barcoding of corals of Guam.

Edriel Aquino (BS Biology) – Used native plants for watershed restoration and assists the lab in collecting environmental monitoring data.

James Fifer (MS Biology; co-advised with Laurie Raymundo) – Investigated the mitigating effects of water flow on the transcriptomic stress response of reef-flat staghorn corals (Acropora pulchra). Now a PhD student in Cell & Molecular Biology at Boston University.

Jennifer Ha (BS Biology) – Genetic barcoding of Guam’s coral diversity with focus on acroporids. Presented her results at the Ocean Sciences meeting in Portland, OR in 2018.

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