The International Who's Who to Contemporary Octocoral Research


This webpage compiled and maintained by Kirrily Moore and Gary Williams

(Date of last revision 18 November 2017)





Catalina Aguilar Hurtado
catagui at hotmail.com

Masters student (supervisor Dr. James Davis Reimer)
University of the Ryukyus,
Okinawa, Japan

  • “Octocoral systematics of the family Melithaeidae in the Ryukyus Archipelago (JAPAN)"

(Undergraduate with Asst. Prof. Juan A. Sánchez, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia)




Dr Phil Alderslade
phil at alderslade.net or phil.alderslade at csiro.au
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
Tasmania, Australia

    For the last couple of years I have been working part time on the identification of octocoral collections from seamounts predominantly off the south and east coasts of Australia.  This work is being done for the CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research laboratories in Tasmania. I am also working on descriptions of new deep water genera and species found to occur on the seamounts and new shallow water taxa from the tropics amassed during my days at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.  These new taxa come from many different families.
    • I am also coordinating work on a new edition of the “Illustrated Trilingual Glossary of Morphological and Anatomical terms applied to Octocorallia”.
    • Continuing work to describe new deep and shallow water taxa. Currently this includes some new deep water genera related to the Ellisellidae (with Cathy McFadden);two new species of Tokoprymno and population distribution of the genus (with Juan Sanchez); new species and new genera of the Isididae (with Luisa Dueñas)



    Nestor Ardila Espitia
    ne.ardila23 at uiandes.edu.co
    PhD student (supervisor Ass. Prof. Juan A. Sánchez)
    Universidad de los Andes
    Bogotá, Colombia

    • He has been working on his doctoral research in the taxonomy, phylogeny and phylogeography of the precious corals (Coralliidae) based on morphology and nuclear and mitochondrial genes, which will provide an opportunity to resolve phylogenetics relationships among an important and endangered family of deep-sea corals.
    • He has been studying during the past three years the octocoral communities in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (Colombia, Ecuador) and he is very interested in the emerging impacts of diseases and ocean acidification in gorgonian corals in this region. These studies are been carried out in the Molecular Marine Biology Lab-BIOMMAR.



    Didier Aurelle


    Aix-Marseille Universite / Institut Pytheas

    Station Marine d'Endoume

    Chemin de las batterie des Lions

    13007 Marseille FRANCE

    Research Interests:

    Population genetics and phylogeography of octocorals.
    Adaptative processes: experimental approaches, gene expression.
    Model species: Mediterranean octocorals: Corallium, Eunicella...


    Dr Amy Baco-Taylor
    abacotaylor at fsu.edu
    Department of Oceanography
    Florida State University
    Florida, USA

    Research interests:

      • distribution of deep-sea corals on seamounts and oceanic islands

      • the role of deep-sea corals as habitats for invertebrates

      • connectivity of seamount populations using population genetics and phylogeography

      • I am interested in all groups of deep-sea ocotocorals, and currently have active genetics projects on Primnoidae (in collaboration with Stephen Cairns), Paragorgiidae and Coralliidae (in collaboration with Juan Sánchez).



      Yehuda (Hudi) Benayahu, Ph.D
      Professor of Marine Biology
      The Israel Cohen Chair in Environmental Zoology
      Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences
      Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, ISRAEL
      Tel: +972-3-6409090/7292; Fax: +972-3-6409403

      My lab group studies taxonomy and biology of Indo-Pacific reef octocorals. An ongoing subject deals reproductive biology and development of octocorals, also in relation to acquisition of symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) by their sexual offspring. We also study recruitment of octocorals on artificial reefs.

      Some of the current projects:

      1. Diversity and biogeography of octocorals on coral reefs of Taiwan (with L.P. van Ofwegen and C.S. McFadden).

      2. Phylogeny of soft corals family Xeniidae (with C.S. McFadden, R. Tonnen, A. Halasz and R. Haverkort).

      3. Revision of Xeniidae genera Cespitularia and Efflatounaria.

      4. Studies on Lobophyton, Sarcophyton and Sinularia (with L.P. van Ofwegen and C. S. McFadden).


      Jaret Bilewitch
      jbilewitch at gmail.com or jaret.bilewitch at uqconnect.edu.au
      PhD Student (supervisor Assoc. Prof. Sandie Degnan)
      University of Queensland
      Brisbane, Australia

        • I am currently building a global molecular phylogeny of the Ellisellidae, which will be used for revisionary systematics and to examine lineage-specific depth range expansions over evolutionary timescales.
        • I have also been examining the origins and role of the mitochondrial MutS gene (mtMutS, previously msh1) in the evolution of the Octocorallia. This gene has an independent and non-eukaryotic origin and has likely persisted in all descendants of the octocorallian common ancestor.
        • In a continuation of work began during my masters degree, I am also involved in diversity assessments of the octocoral fauna of Bermuda- a semi-isolated chain of islands in the West Atlantic Ocean. An updated catalog of the known octocoral species and a review of taxonomic studies in Bermuda is currently in preparation.



      Dr Odalisca Breedy Shadid
      odalisca at racsa.co.cr
      Centro de Investigacion en Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia
      Univeridad de Costa Rica
      San Jose, Costa Rica

      • I work in taxonomy and systematics of eastern Pacific octocorals.



      Dr. Stephen Cairns
      CAIRNSS at si.edu
      Research Scientist
      Department of Invertebrate Zoology
      Smithsonian Institution
      Washington D.C., USA

      • I have just submitted a manuscript on the primnoid octocorals from New Zealand, part 1, which includes 18 species. I will soon start work on part 2.

      • I have recently published a short paper on a new primnoid genus from off Argentina.

      • I continue to collaborate with Michelle Taylor on a revision of the genus Thouarella.




      Chandran Rethnaraj
      softcoralchandran at gmail.com
      PhD student (supervisor K. Padma kumar)
      Dept. of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries
      University of Kerala,
      Trivandrum, India

      • Biodiversity of soft corals (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea) in South India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala)


      Dr. Thanongsak Chanmethakul
      chanmethakul at gmail.com  or chanmethakul at pkru.ac.th
      Phuket Rajabhat University,
      Phuket, Thailand

      • Taxonomic description of Sarcophyton from Thai water.
      • Distribution of gorgonian in the Andaman Sea.
      • Transplantation technique of Dendronephthya spp.
      • Completed PhD thesis with Dr. Alderslade and Dr. Benayahu as supervisors


      Dr. Suchana Chavanich Apple Chavanich
      Suchana.C at chula.ac.th
      Associate Professor
      Chulalongkorn University

      Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Science
      Bangkok, Thailand

      • Diversity of octocorals in the Gulf of Thailand




      Jei-Ying Chen
      cchen at calacademy.org
      Research Assistant, Center
      for Comparative Genomics
      California Academy of Sciences
      San Francisco, California, USA

      • Comparative morphology and phylogenetic implications of calcaxonian gorgonians and pennatulaceans
      • Systematics of gorgonian and pennatulacean octocorals



      Ralf T S Cordeiro

      ralfts at gmail.com

      PhD Student in Animal Biology at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
      Editor of Octocorals in WoRMS (World Register of Marine species)
      Member of the GPA - Anthozoan Research Group
      Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

      I just finished revisions of the deep-sea genus Radicipes Stearns, 1883 and the shallow-water Plexaurella Kölliker, 1865; and biodiversity assessments of the Rio Grande Rise (southern Brazil) and the Potiguar Basin (Northeastern Brazil). Additionally, I'm starting a revision of genus Callogorgia Gray, 1858.
      Other collaborations: 
      - Review on the Brazilian octocoral fauna.
      - Revisions of the genera Thesea Duchassaing & Michelotti, 1860 and Pleurogorgia Versluys, 1902;
      - Checklist of octocorals of the Burdwood Bank (Argentina).

      I'm especially interested in systematics of deep-sea octocorals and ecology of mesophotic reefs.


      Dr Tatyana Dautova
      tndaut at mail.ru
      Senior Researcher
      Laboratory of Benthos Ecology
      Institute of Marine Biology (IMB) FEB Russian Academy of Sciences
      Curator of Cnidaria Department
      Museum (MIMB) of IMB FEB RAS
      From Russian side: Head of the Russian-Vietnamese International Laboratory of the Marine Biology and Ecology researches (FEB RAS – VAST)

      Institute of Marine Biology (IMB) FEB Russian Academy of Sciences
      Vladivostok, Russia

      • “Octocorallia of South China Sea – fauna and taxonomy” Now in processing: “Soft corals of Nha Trang Bay”.
      • “Soft corals of the Seychelles” Now in processing:  “The genus Sinularia at Seychelles, Indian Ocean” (joint project with L.P. van Ofwegen, Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis, Leiden).
      • “Octocorallia of Temperate Pacific – fauna, taxonomy, dispersal ways”
      • Now in processing:          “Calcigorgia and Paragorgia gorgonians of Kurile Islands”. 

        In Preparation:

      “Soft corals of Russian waters of the East Sea (Sea of Japan)”
      “Gorgonians of Russian waters of the East Sea (Sea of Japan)"


      Luisa Dueñas

      luisadue at gmail.com

      Ph.D. student (supervisor Ass. Prof. Juan Sánchez)
      Universidad de los Andes 

      Bogotá, Colombia.

      • Luisa has been working with Bamboo corals from New Zealand, sub-Antarctic and Antarctic since 2006. She works specially with Isidids from the Keratoisidinae and Mopseinae subfamilies, and her research focuses on molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of this group. Her other interests are character evolution, description of new species found during her research, and phylogeography of big Keratoisidids.




      Dr Peter Etnoyer
      peter.etnoyer at noaa.gov
      Adjunct Professor
      NOAA Deep-Sea Coral Ecology Laboratory, College of Charleston
      Mailing address:
      NOAA Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research
      219 Ft Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412

      Current Projects:

      • Mapping and surveying deep-sea coral habitat using remotely operated vehicles within US National Marine Sanctuaries and other managed areas

      • Developing of a national geodatabase of deep-sea coral occurrences with NOAA's Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program

      • Assessing health and condition of deep-water octocorals on mesophotic reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment for Deep-Water Horizon oil spill

      • Ongoing review of morphological and molecular systematics in West Atlantic deep-water octocorals




      Klaus Feussner
      feussner_k at usp.ac.fj
      Masters Student (supervisor Phil Alderslade)
      University of South Pacific, Fiji

      • Octocorals are one group of animals that we screen for their bioactivity (besides mainly sponges and ascidians and algae).
      • I’m writing up my thesis on Sarcophyton- the molecular part is completed and the sequences have been uploaded on NCBI. We have 14 undescribed species and I/we are getting 3-D images (Helicon focus) of the sclerites.



      Dr Scott France
      france at louisiana.edu
      Assistant Professor
      Department of Biology
      University of Louisiana at Lafayette
      Lafayette, Louisiana USA

      • My interests are in the evolution of deep-sea hard-substrate fauna, using octocorals as a model. My lab group is working on taxonomic, systematic and population-level questions, employing molecular tools for each question. My primary focus is on the bamboo coral subfamily Keratoisidinae (in collaboration with Dr. Les Watling).
      • Graduate students in my lab are currently working on Acanthogorgiiidae and the Plexauridae genus Paramuricea (Jana Thoma) and Isididae (Esprit Heestand); past students or postdocs have worked on Chrysogorgiidae (Eric Pante) and Primnoidae (Joris van der Ham).



      Dr. Anita George Mary
      marineani at rediffmail.com
      Marine Scientist
      HMR Consultants,
      Sultanate of Oman

      • Working on the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Octocorals of the Indian coast (including the Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands), selected islands of Maldives and Oman Coast (Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea).

      • Interested in the molecular phylogeny and bioactivity studies of gorgonids.


      Ramvilas Ghosh

      PhD Scholar
      School of Ocean Science and technology
      Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies
      Kochi, 682506, India

      e-mail: amoeba1123@gmail.comramvilas@kufos.ac.in


      * I am a PhD student at Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Kochi, India. I am undertaking my research under a broad topic ofdiversity, evolution and biogeography

      of Central Indian Ocean Gorgonians under the joined guidance of Dr Ranjeet K and Dr Rajeev Raghavan.



      Carlos Gomez Soto

      Predoctoral Fellowship (Supervisors Dr. Juan Sanchez (Universidad de los Andes), Dr. Valerie Paul (Smithsonian Institution) and Dr. Chris Langdon (RSMAS-University of Miami))
      Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
      Fort Pierce
      Florida, USA

      • Currently my main focus is on calcification on octocorals (gorgonians) and how elevated CO2 is affecting this process. I finished my master´s degree (supervisor Juan Sanchez) working on ocean acidification with Leptogorgia virgulata and L. hebes and at the moment I´m working with tropical gorgonians (mainly Eunicea fusca) as a graduate Fellowship for the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. I´ll be conducting experiments of ocean acidification in controlled conditions




      Mohamed Habib
      mrhydros35 at hotmail.com

      • Survey to list what octocorals are occurring in the Red Sea


      Esprit Heestand Saucier

      PhD Student (supervisor Dr. Scott France)

      Department of Biology
      University of Louisiana at Lafayette
      Lafayette, Louisiana USA

        I am using genetics and morphology to examine the phylogenetic relationships within the deep-sea bamboo corals (Isididae) and focusing my efforts on the subfamily Keratoisidinae.  I am currently describing new genera and species that have been discovered while working on the family in collaboration with Scott France and Les Watling. 
        • I am also interested in the classification and distribution of cnidae within Isididae, and the biogeographic distribution of bamboo corals in the coral triangle. 
        • Additionally, I am also interested in genetically assessing population- and species-level differences using the deep-sea bamboo coral Acanella as a model.



        Santiago Herrera
        sherrera at whoi.edu
        PhD student (supervisor Dr Tim Shank)
        MIT-WHOI Joint Program
        Biology Department
        Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
        Woods Hole, Massachusetts

        • Diversity characterization, ecology and population connectivity of deep-water gorgonians in the Coral Triangle
        • Population genomics and phylogenetics
        • Molecular systematics, phylogeography of bubblegum corals, Paragorgiidae (in collaboration with Juan Sanchez and Amy Baco)




        Beth Horvath
        horvath at westmont.edu
        Assistant Professor of Biology
        Westmont College
        Research Associate
        Invertebrate Labs
        Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
        Santa Barbara, CA, USA

          • Extensive overview of gorgonian fauna of the CA Bight in final edits (mid 2012). Major re-working on the genera Swiftia and Muricea are included, along with new location records for several species, and potential new species included as well.
          • Description of a new species in the genus Leptogorgia came out in April 2011 (Proceedings of the Bio. Soc. of WA); am now working on several other possible new species descriptions from the eastern Pacific (western United States, CA to Alaska).
          • Workshop power point done for SCAMIT workshop in March, 2012 is soon to be posted on the SCAMIT website, taxonomic toolbox location
          • Consulting and identification work ongoing for NOAA and federal fisheries and wildlife folks in Alaska, WA State, Oregon, northern CA and North Carolina. As well, large lot of samples from Mazatlan (Laboratorio de Invertebrados Bentonicos, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) undergoing examination for identification.


          Tran Quoc Hung
          hungimer at gmail.com
          Marine Research Officer
          Department of Marine Conservation and Biodiversity
          Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (IMER)
          Haiphong City, Vietnam

          • Biodiversity and conservation in general in Vietnam
          • Soft coral taxonomy, ecology of soft coral and biochemical in Alcyoniidae family
          • Conservation and restoration of coral reefs



          Yukimitsu Imahara
          imahara at kuroshio.or.jp or imaharay at k.email.ne.jp
          Wakayama Laboratory, Biological Institute on Kuroshio
          (Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation)
          Wakayama-shi, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan

          • Taxonomy of Japanese octocorals, revision of some alcyonacean and pennatulacean genera such as Scleronephthya, Anthomastus and Halipteris



          Fumihito Iwase
          iwase at kuroshio.or.jp

          Institute Head,
          Biological Institute on Kuroshio (Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation)
          Otsuki-Town, Kochi, Japan

          • Distribution of the gorgonians in Japan and the influence of the Kuroshio Current.




          Michael Janes
          President & Senior Aquarist
          Phoenix, Arizona, USA

          • Family Xeniidae; Histology, Taxonomy, ex situ culture



          Dr Samuel Kahng
          skahng at hpu.edu
          Associate Professor of Oceanography (as of autumn 2012)
          Hawaii Pacific University at the Oceanic Institute
          Marine Science Program Office
          Waimanalo, Hawaii

          • I have published a review of octocoral reproduction with Hudi Benayahu and Howard Lasker. Kahng SE, Benayahu Y, Lasker H (2011) Sexual reproduction in Octocorallia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 443:265-283
          • My grad student (Paula Lam Berger) is currently preparing her manuscript for submission "Sexual reproduction in an endemic octocoral (Sarcothelia edmondsoni) in Hawaii-
          • I am currently investigating deep-water coral community development and change across time using submarine lava flows of known ages on the leeward flank of the Big Island of Hawaii



          Abby Lapointe
          abbylap at hawaii.edu
          PhD student (supervisor Les Watling)
          Department of Zoology (Biology)
          University of Hawaii at Manoa

          Systematics and biogeography of the bamboo corals from the deep sea off Tasmania




          Samatha Lee

          lee_mw23 at yahoo.com
          Environmental Consultant
          Environmental Resources Management Hong Kong (ERM-HK)
          Hong Kong

          • Finished my master degree and worked as a research assistant in Chinese University of Hong Kong, conducted a study commissioned by Hong Kong Government in establishing a reference collection and verifying the species diversity and distribution of octocorals in Hong Kong waters.
          • Currently working for an environment consultant company, helping to assess the species diversity and abundance of certain octocoral communities in Asia-Pacific areas.



          Dr Pablo López-González
          pjlopez at us.es
          Profesor Titular de Universidad (Associate Professor)
          Biodiversidad y Ecologia de Invertebrados, Marinos Departamento de Fisiología y Zoología
          Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Sevilla
          Sevilla, Spain

          • I have currently a PhD student (Rebeca Zapata) working on Antarctic and SubAntarctic primnoids (especially Thouarella and related genera), and other students are starting to work (last year of their academic studies) on taxonomic characters from the soft parts in scleractinians, reproduction of Antarctic octocorals, and population dynamic of littoral sea anemones.
          • My current research projects on octocorals are related to polar (especially Antarctic), deep-sea, and littoral Atlantic-Mediterranean fauna. Octocoral taxonomy and biogeography are my main interests. During the last years, descriptions of new or confused species in the literature on most octocoral groups (except for Helioporacea) have been published
          • I have just send a ms on gorgonians from the Gulf of Cadiz (North Eastern Atlantic) and Mediterranean, I'm now working on another Antarctic gorgonian, and close to me I have the next two soft-coral species to be worked, one is from South Azores and the other from Guinea-Bissau




          Dr. Asako K. Matsumoto


          Associate Professor

          Faculty of Economics and Informatics, Educational Foundation SHOUHEIKOU

          Higashi Nippon International University

          37 Suganezawa, Kamata, Taira, Iwaki, Fukushima 970-8023, Japan


          Planetary Exploration Research Center (PERC)

          Chiba Institute of Technology (Chitech)

          Tsudanuma 2-17-1, Narashino, Chiba 275-0016, Japan

          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

          • Current Projects: Systematics of the gorgonian genus Melithaea (Melithaeidae) in Japan
          • Systematics and biogeograpy of the north-west Pacific Cold-Water Octocoral (Primnoidae).
          • Growth rate and carbonate production of CWOC.



          Dr Catherine McFadden
          Catherine_Mcfadden at hmc.edu
          Vivian and D. Kenneth Baker Professor
          Department of Biology
          Harvey Mudd College
          Claremont, California, USA

          • My lab group is working on molecular systematics of a wide variety of octocoral groups across a variety of taxonomic levels, although our primary taxonomic focus continues to be shallow-water alcyoniid soft corals.  As part of the NSF Cnidarian Tree of Life project (and in collaboration with Dr. Scott France) we are constructing a molecular phylogeny of Octocorallia with representatives of as many families and genera of octocorals as we have been able to obtain.  We have also been constructing genus and species-level phylogenies to try to understand the relationships of soft corals in the family Alcyoniidae, and to use molecular phylogenetic relationships to identify new, phylogenetically informative characters for morphological identification of alcyoniids.  We are also compiling a database of molecular "barcodes" for octocorals (based on mitochondrial msh1 and COI sequences), and have consequently been opportunistically sequencing any material we receive, of known and unknown taxonomic affinity.
          • Some ongoing projects:

          1. Development and testing of nuclear barcoding markers for octocorals.
          2. Molecular phylogenetics of the soft coral family Xeniidae (with Y. Benayahu, A. Halasz, M. Janes)
          3. Revisions of the soft coral fauna of South Africa (with L. van Ofwegen)
          4. Evolution of mitochondrial gene order in Octocorallia



          Dr Tina N. Molodtsova
          tina at ocean.ru
          Senior Scientist
          P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS
          Moscow, Russia

          • A revision of the genus Anthomastus, North Atlantic, hopefully extending worldwide



          Kirrily Moore
          moorekm at utas.edu.au or kirrily.moore at csiro.au
          PhD student (supervisors Dr Phil Alderslade and Dr Karen Miller)
          University of Tasmania
          CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
          Tasmania, Australia

            • Revision of the taxonomy and phylogeny of Primnoisis in the Southern Ocean
            • Revision of the taxonomy and phylogeny of Anthothela worldwide
            • Phylogeography of certain taxa from the Tasmanian seamounts, some sub Antarctic Islands and eastern Antarctica continental shelf




            Mohammed Zawid Naseem
            Mohammed Zawid Naseem.jpg
            zawid at sify.com
            Coordinator of Sciences, Math. & Tech. Departments,
            Qatar Leadership Academy,
            Qatar Foundation
            PO BOX- 24421, DOHA, QATAR.

            • Teaching and supervision of student research project (IB DP Biology & Env. Systems)


            Dr Katherine Muzik
            kmuzik at gmail.com
            Associate in Natural History
            Bishop Museum
            Director, Kulu Wai
            Kaua'i, Hawai'i

            Research Interests

              I would like to FINALLY publish results from the 1970s of Octocorallia I collected and studied via manned submersible and SCUBA diving off Oahu and Hawai'i, most likely publishing in collaboration with Sonia Rowley. My ancient taxonomic work for my PhD might still be pertinent!
              •  I am also writing proposals to study the Octocorallia of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which is newly threatened by US Navy plans to increase their use of sonar and munitions explosions in the area. My colleagues and I hope to conduct basic studies on Hawaiian Octocoral fauna (their systematics, functional genomics and distribution, especially of the tantalizing twilight zone, now more reachable with improved rebreather technology) as well as applied research on the effects of military activities on octocorals, especially their growth, and their nervous and reproductive systems.

              • Meanwhile, I am helping write reports on Octocorallia from Japanese waters, for publication alongside my Japanese colleague, Dr. Masanori Nonaka. We have just described two new species of Corallium and he has recently brought to light several interesting and important Japanese studies from over a century ago.  He recently presented two of our new papers for publication in the Proceedings of the International Congress for Precious Corals, held in Kochi this year (2012).

              • I have also created my independent environmental education institute, named Kulu Wai (Hawaiian for "Water Drop"), to share my love for the sea with children, and to help them understand and counteract the perils we humans are ceaselessly and carelessly inflicting upon the oceans.




              Dr Masanori Nonaka
              m-nonaka at okichura.jp or masanori.nonaka at gmail.com

              Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa Expo Aquarium)
              Okinawa, Japan

              Current Project:

              . Taxonomy and distribution of Japanese Octocorallia, especially Coralliidae (with Katherine Muzik).



              Laura Núnez Pons
              lauguau at gmail.com
              PhD student
              University of Barcelona
              Barcelona, Spain

              • Chemical ecology of Antarctic invertebrates, (Porifera, Cnidaria and Tunicata)
              • Taxonomy of some Octocorals from Antarctica (Alcyonium, Thouarella, Fannyella and Primnoisis).



              Dr Leen van Ofwegen 
              ofwegen at yahoo.com
              Curator of Coelenterata
              National Museum of Natural History Naturalis
              Leiden, Netherlands

              * Revision of the soft coral genera Litophyton, Nephthea and Stereonephthya.

              *The position of the centre of maximum octocoral biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific.

              *Melithaeids of the Indo-Pacific

              *Revision of Bebryce

              *Revison of Solenocaulon (with Kaveh Samimi Namin)

              *Nidalia of the shallow water of the Indo-Pacific (with Kaveh Samimi Namin)

              *Several studies on Sinularia (with Yehuda Benayahu)



              Sebastian Overmans
              sebastian.overmans at gmail.com

              MSc Marine Biology student (supervisor Prof. DJ Smith and Dr DJ Suggett)
              University of Essex
              Colchester, UK
              I am studying how soft corals of the genera Sarcophyton, Sinularia and Lobophytum change their endosymbiotic relationship/photobiology in response to thermal stress and what impact restricted acclimatisation might have on their ecological niche width in future climates





              Eric Pante
              pante.eric at gmail.com
              Post-doctoral researcher at Université de La Rochelle
              Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés (LIENSs)
              Université de La Rochelle
              La Rochelle, France

              Group editor for the Octocorallia at Zootaxa (http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/taxa/Coelenterata.html

              Research interests:

              • Evolutionary biology, phylogenetics, biogeography, population genetics, genomics
              • Place of origin of deep-sea and shallow calcaxonians
              • Phylogenetics and global biogeography of the Chrysogorgiidae (Calcaxonia)
              • Population connectivity among Chrysogorgia species (Chrysogorgiidae) using next-generation sequencing (NGS)
              • Molecular systematics of Chrysogorgia, with focus on NW Atlantic and SW Pacific species pools
              • Phylogenetics and taxonomy of the genus Chrysogorgia (Calcaxonia: Chrysogorgiidae) (global geographical scale, with focus on NW Atlantic and SW Pacific species pools)
              • Taxonomic re-description of Isidoides (Calcaxonia)





              Dr. Carlos Daniel Perez
              cdperez at ufpe.br
              Director of GPA - Anthozoan Research Group
              Curator of the octocoral collection of the Department of Oceanography of the UFPE
              Professor at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
              Vitória de Santo Antão, Pernambuco, Brazil

              • Biology and ecology of the clavulariid Carijoa riisei in northeastern region of Brazil
              • Systematic and biogeography of octocorals of Southweastern Atlantic Ocean
              • Revision morpho-molecular of the genus Muriceopsis (with Dr. Juan Amador Sánchez)




              Andrea M. Quattrini
              andrea.quattrini at temple.edu
              PhD student (supervisor Dr Erik Cordes)
              Temple University
              Philadelphia, USA

              • The genetic connectivity of deepwater gorgonians in the Gulf of Mexico (and beyond) focusing on Callogorgia americana delta, collaborating with Peter Etnoyer.




              Bastian T. Reijnen (on the right above)
              Reijnen at naturalis.nl
              Associate Researcher
              National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis
              Leiden, The Netherlands
              Supervisor: Dr. L.P. van Ofwegen

              • Ovulid snails associated with Octocorallians in the Indo-Pacific

              • Revision of the Indo-Pacific Acanthogorgiidae, with special reference to the Siboga Expedition (1899-1900) specimens.



              Dr. Sonia Rowley
              soniajrowley at gmail.com

              Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii

                • My PhD research focused on the ecology and characterization of gorgonian taxa within the Wakatobi Marine National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia.
                • Using the zooxanthellate Isidid Isis hippuris (Linnaeus 1758), my research further investigates potential environmental influences on intra-specific morphological and endosymbiotic variability. This is achieved through the utilization of specific molecular markers, photoacclimation responses and C/N ratio comparisons for both host and endosymbiont(s).
                • Past research has investigated the potential cause(s) of disease reported on the protected seafan Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas 1766) in the UK. This research incorporated ecological, microbial (culture and non-culture) and chemical techniques.
                • I also work on deep sea gorgonian taxa around the NWHI with Prof. Les Watling,  and others at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.



                Íris Sampaio
                Irisfs at gmail.com

                Research interests:

                Deep-water octocorals' biodiversity, taxonomy and conservation focusing on the Azorean islands and intervening seamounts. Until now, fishing impacts on these communities have been my study goal. During one year of Licenciatura (5years degree) training I have done a systematic study on Horta harbour (Faial, Azores), gathering the benthic fauna caught by long-line fisheries. Bottom long-line fishery surveys allowed me to validate the horizontal and vertical distribution of the by-caught deep-water corals.

                The taxonomy interest came along with the identification of the deep-water corals of COLETA, DOP-UAZ (reference collection of the department of Oceanography and Fisheries of the University of the Azores)and M@rbis, EMAM (reference collection from the Mission for Maritime Affairs) and two workshops of taxonomy with Dr. Oscar Ocaña.

                I am developing a Catalogue and identification guide of deep-sea Alcyonacea and Pennatulacea of the Azores archipelago (NE Atlantic).



                Dr Juan A. Sánchez
                juansanc at uniandes.edu.co
                Profesor Asociado
                Director de Investigaciones y Posgrados
                Director - Laboratorio de Biologia Molecular Marina (BIOMMAR)
                Departamento Ciencias Biologicas-Facultad de Ciencias, 
                Universidad de los Andes
                Bogota, Colombia

                Since I was a graduate student I have been interested in the evolutionary biology of octocorals. I have been working in octocoral taxonomy and systematics as a by-product of molecular phylogenetic studies, which I think is a worthwhile approach. Currently, I am studying questions such as: What is the impact of past reticulate evolution for the current octocoral diversity? What are the drivers of octocoral character evolution? What are the rates of morphological and molecular evolution in both shallow- and deep-sea octocorals? Likewise, what processes did promote speciation in shallow- and deep-sea octocorals? What are the evolutionary consequences for species with reproductive strategies such as brooding or broadcast spawning? Luckily, among the great diversity of octocorals there are many groups suitable to answer these questions, which have been part of our past and current octocoral studies, such as bubble-gum corals (Paragorgiidae), precious corals (Corallidae), bamboo corals (Isididae), and gorgonian corals (Plexauridae and Gorgoniidae). I should remark that it is impossible to get progress in octocoral evolution unless you careful study their intricate taxonomy and biology. My research group has been focusing in the octocoral faunas at both sides of Colombia (Caribbean and Eastern Tropical Pacific) and the fauna from New Zealand, the Ross Sea (Antarctica) and the Southern Ocean in general. I am also interested in the phylogeography of a number of deep-sea brooder species (Primnoidae). I have also been tempted by a number of ecological questions in octocorals that became apparent with the current environmental conditions. See our recent publications at:


                Elia Sanmartãn-Paya
                elia at klanformiga.com
                Writing u
                p PhD (Universitat de Valencia, Spain)
                Currently in Sydney, Australia

                • Octocorals from Iceland



                (with P. Alderslade)

                Dr Monika Schlacher-Hoenlinger
                MonikaS at qm.qld.gov.au
                Research Scientist
                Sessile Marine Invertebrate Section
                Queensland Museum
                Brisbane, Australia

                I am a researcher of the Australian node of the CReefs project (a global census of coral reefs), which includes a network of researchers engaged in a long term initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in the oceans.

                In this position my primary aims are 1) to comprehensively document the tropical Octocorallia fauna of the Australian East and West Coast, and 2) to undertake taxonomic research to develop a specialization in some families of octocorals prevalent in tropical reefs


                Anne Simpson

                anne.simpson at maine.edu
                PhD student (supervisor Dr Les Watling)
                University of Maine
                Orono, Maine, U.S.A.

                Over the last several years I’ve been studying reproduction in the following families of deep-water octocorals: Chyrsogorgiidae, Paramuricidae, Paragorgiidae, and Corallidae. Most of the species I’m working on were collected from NW Atlantic seamounts.  My work generally examines basic reproductive biology, with a focus on comparative gametogenesis.



                Susana Soto de Matos-Pita
                soto at uvigo.es
                PhD student (supervisor Dr. Fran Ramil)
                Universidad de Vigo
                Vigo. España

                My thesis work deals with Octocorals collected by Spanish Antarctic Expeditions (BENTART) carried out during the years 1994, 1995, 2003 and 2006 in West Antarctica (South Shetlands, Antarctic Peninsula and Bellingshausen Sea). Biogeography of the identified species will be treated too.




                Dr Michelle Taylor
                Postdoctoral Researcher - Deep Sea Ecology
                Department of Zoology,
                University of Oxford,
                Tinbergen Building,
                South Parks Road,
                Oxford, OX1 3PS

                Having previously studied the Thouarella genus in detail, undertook phylogenetic analysis of Octocorallia, studied Primnoidae of the sub-Antarctic in relation to by-catch from the Patagonian toothfish fishery, and worked on global habitat suitability models for octocorals, I am now studying benthic communities of seamounts in the southwest Indian Ocean.

                Please see my new website for more details: http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/group/oceans/people/MT.html


                Olga Lucía Torres Suárez
                helga.lucila25 at gmail.com
                Masters student (supervisor Ass. Prof.  Juan Sánchez)
                Universidad de los Andes
                Bogotá, Colombia

                • Pseudopterogorgia and hybridization



                Yosephine Tuti Hermanlimianto
                yostuti at yahoo.co.id

                Indonesian Institute for Sciences
                Jakarta, Indonesia

                • Working at the Research Centre for Oceanography-Indonesian Institute of Sciences since 1986, on corals, especially on gorgonians.
                • Now I am working on gorgonians biodiversity in Indonesia. Identifying some gorgonians with the help from Dr. Leen van Ofwegen and Dr Phil Alderslade.
                • In 2008 at Naturalis, doing Melithaeids from Indonesia and some other families, not finished yet.




                Tzu-Hsuan Tu

                cerves at gmail.com

                PhD student (Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan)

                I am working on the systematics of Coralliidae.




                Stephen T. Viada
                sviada at conshelf.com
                Senior Scientist
                CSA International, Inc.
                8502 SW Kansas Avenue
                Stuart, Florida  34997  USA

                • Distribution and taxonomy of deep water octocorals of the Gulf of Mexico.


                Dr Voranop Viyakarn
                voranop.v at chula.ac.th
                Associate Professor, Chulalongkorn University
                Bangkok, Thailand

                • Diversity of octocorals in the Gulf of Thailand



                Dr Les Watling
                watling at hawaii.edu
                Professor of Zoology,
                University of Hawaii at Manoa,
                Emeritus Professor,
                University of Maine.

                • I am studying the deep-sea octocorals of the North Atlantic and Central Pacific, primarily focusing on a few families or genera that we have collected. Our work began in 2003 with seamount dives using the submersible Alvin on the New England seamounts, located off the US east coast. Since then we have done either Alvin or ROV (Hercules) dives on 15 seamounts from Bear Smt in the west to Corner Rise on the eastern end of this chain. We collected more than 400 specimens which will be deposited either at Yale Peabody Museum or in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Contrary to expectations most of our specimens are new to science and are in the process of being described. These include new species of Iridogorgia, Rhodaniridogorgia (new genus, 1 species), Corallium (in prep), Paragorgia (in prep), Acanthogorgia, Chrysogorgia (in prep), and a large number of bamboo corals whose identities are still being worked out.
                • In 2009 we dove off the Bahamas using the ROV Global Explorer and collected a large number of additional new species, primarily in the Keratoisidinae. With the Scott France lab, we are using both molecular and morphological criteria to establish genera and species boundaries.
                • Our future work will encompass more of the deep corals from the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, and additional material collected in the eastern Pacific.
                • In addition, we are developing GIS databases for species in the Chrysogorgiidae and Isididae, with all records checked for nomenclatural changes, etc.




                Dr Gary C. Williams


                Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology
                California Academy of Sciences
                San Francisco, California, USA

                Research Professor
                Department of Biology
                San Francisco State University
                1600 Holloway Avenue
                San Francisco, California, USA

                • Phylogenetic affinities of gorgonians and sea pens.
                • New shallow-water octocoral taxa from the west coast of North America.
                • Pennatulacean octocorals of the world -- a revision
                • Mesophotic and deep-sea octocorals from California
                • Pennatulacean global diversity.
                • Octocoral diversity in the northern Philippines.
                • Maintenance of the Octocoral Research Center website: http://research.calacademy.org/research/izg/orc_home.html



                MaLi Xiubao
                coralreef at scsio.ac.cn
                South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, CAS

                • I have done some work on taxonomy of gorgonians. Meanwhile, I want to study the taxonomy of soft corals. We have already collected a lot of samples of octocorals in our museum. The research is mainly on nearby mainland  Seas (Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi), Hainan Island (such as Sanya) and South China Sea. I have a small fund on taxonomy of Family Ellisellidae from South China Sea.



                Rebeca Zapata Guardiola
                rzapata at us.es
                PhD student (supervisor Ass. Prof.  Pablo López-González)
                Universidad de Sevilla
                Sevilla, Spain

                • Taxonomy of Antarctic octocorals focused in family Primnoidae and mainly in genus Thouarella.



                Mohammed Zawid Naseem

                zawid at sify.com

                Coordinator of Sciences, Math. & Tech. Departments,
                Qatar Leadership Academy,
                Qatar Foundation
                PO BOX- 24421, DOHA, QATAR.

                  Teaching and supervision of student research project (IB DP Biology & Env. Systems)