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.

Graduate Students (MS)

Melissa Gabriel
img_9700Melissa 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 epression in Porites corals.


Justin Berg
5r5a1011.jpgAs a pre-veterinarian student, Justin studied the microbiome of ruminants. Later, he interned with David Vaughn at MOTE Marine Laboratory where he learned to grow corals using micro-fragmentation. Building on these experiences, Justin will deploy coral fragments to study the succession of coral-associated microbes (the microbiome) across an environmental gradient.


Jordan Gault (co-advised with Alex Kerr)
Jordan is interested in inferring macro-evolutionary patterns and processes using phylogenetic comparative methods. For his thesis, he uses Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods to infer the history of photosymbiosis in corals.

Undergraduate Students

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

Krystal Palacios – Genetic barcoding of corals of Guam.

Edriel Aquino – Uses 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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