I am a marine scientist studying the effects of climate change on coral reefs with a focus on microbial symbiosis and quantitative ecology. Connect with me through the following networks, and learn more about my research below.

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  1. New paper on Symbiodinium metacommunities in American Samoa
    Our work on Symbiodinium metacommunities in American Samoa is now published in the open access journal PLOS ONE! Cunning R, Yost DM, Guarinello ML, Putnam HM, Gates RD (2015) Variability of Symbiodinium communities in waters, sediments, and corals of thermally distinct reef pools in American Samoa. PLoS ONE 10(12):e0145099. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145099.     In this paper, we describe high diversity communities of Symbiodinium in the waters, sediments, and ten coral species in back reef
  2. Open Lab Notebook
    As part of my effort to conduct more open and reproducible science, I've started keeping an electronic lab notebook online, built using Jekyll and hosted at GitHub. You can find my notebook at http://jrcunning.github.io/labnotebook/, and the underlying code at https://github.com/jrcunning/labnotebook. I've only made a few posts so far and am experimenting with the best way to add content, to organize this effort in a coherent way, and to serve it to the community. This project will continue to
  3. Photo credit: Howard Lasker
    I spent the last two weeks of July conducting fieldwork with Dr. Peter Edmunds and his team in St. John, USVI. We operated out of the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) in Great Lameshur Bay, which is in the Virgin Islands National Park on the south coast of St. John. This was an incredible place to work, which is why Dr. Edmunds has been working here for the past 30 years, collecting long term ecological data on the beautiful and abundant coral reefs. Since most of my
  4. New paper on symbiont shuffling in the Caribbean star coral
    New research on 'symbiont shuffling' shows why corals sometimes change their symbiotic algae partners. In this study, we found that corals are more likely to shift toward partnerships with heat-tolerant symbionts if they experience more severe heat stress followed by recovery in a warmer environment. This study places coral symbioses in the context of disturbance ecology to help elucidate the mechanisms controlling multi-partner interactions. Importantly, this work helps us understand when and