Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2019
Dr David M BAKER
School of Biological Sciences
Dr David Baker obtained his BA and BS Degree in Biology from St Mary's College of Maryland and American University in 2001 and 2004 respectively, then his PhD degree in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University in 2020.
Dr Baker is currently Associate Professor at The Swire Institute of Marine Science and School of Biological Sciences. He is broadly interested in the ecology and resilience of tropical coral reef ecosystems in the midst of a myriad of human perturbations. Specifically, he is employing biogeochemical techniques to elucidate the effects of anthropogenic nutrient inputs on reef invertebrates. He has explored the connection between nitrogen isotope ratios and coral disease from Caribbean and Indo-Pacific reefs to test the hypothesis that human derived nutrients are exacerbating coral disease worldwide, which has led him to become an advocate for stable isotope monitoring (sources) as a supplement to conventional water quality programs (concentrations). Additionally, he is determining how coral symbioses create records of environmental change. Using compounds enriched in heavy stable isotopes, he can trace the flow of light elements (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur) between the coral animal and its symbiotic algal symbionts. This work allows him to determine which corals are best for historical records of anthropogenic change, and offers some exciting new insights on the physiological ecology of the coral - algal symbiosis.
Congratulations to Dr Baker for his receiving of the award.