The Hunter Lab is interested in all aspects of coral reef ecology, ranging from symbionts to socioeconomics. Some current research focuses on reef resilience as a function of traditional ecological knowledge and market proximity in Fiji and characterization of species- and genotypic-sensitivity to thermal stress on Windward Oahu reefs.
Other areas of interest include biology and ecology of marine invertebrates, physiology and molecular biology of cnidarian-algal symbioses, evolutionary genetics, invertebrate systematics, community processes and dynamics, developing new reef monitoring techniques, and natural history of the Hawaiian Islands.
Most recently, research in the Hunter Lab has explored and determined ways to inform and improve management of coral reef resources. Projects include:
• Characterization of genetic diversity and propagation potential of corals for reef restoration and research (Hunter, Forsman).
• Development of methods and management strategies to control alien algae and restore coral reefs degraded by algal invasions. A recent aspect of this work involves student-led surveys of the distribution and abundance of two NOAA Species of Concern (Montipora dilatata and Lingula reevii) as part of the BIOL 403-Field Problems in Marine Biology course (Hunter, Rodgers, Wedding).
• Prevalence of coral disease inside and outside of Marine Protected Areas (Walton).
• Local traditional knowledge and reef health in Fiji (Dacks).
• Working with the Ka’ahou (Lanikai) community to monitor coral reef health and response to thermal stress (Massey).