NSF International Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology
Understanding drivers of vulnerability & resilience under climate and ocean change
I received my PhD in 2014 in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin. My dissertation research investigated the genetic and physiological basis of local adaptation in coral, using Porites astreoides in the Florida Keys as a model system. In addition, I conducted several other studies to develop gene expression biomarkers as a tool for reef managers to rapidly assess stress in natural coral populations.
  • 2014 - PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • 2007 - BSc in Marine Sciences, The State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA
Current Research Activities
In 2014, I was awarded an International Postdoctoral Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation of the United States to work with Dr Line Bay at AIMS. My research uses a combination of lab experiments and genomic methods to investigate the evolution of symbiont transmission mode, using reef-building corals as a model system.
In addition, I work with the Climate and Ocean Change team at AIMS to investigate the physiological and genetic basis of coral adaptation and am collaborating with several groups at AIMS on projects exploring organismal responses to various climate change stressors using functional genomics.
The following are a selection of recent publications.

Louis YD, Bhagooli R, Kenkel CD, Baker AC, Dyall SD (2016) Gene expression biomarkers of heat stress in scleractinian corals: Promises and limitations. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C, in press.

Kenkel CD, Almanza AT, Matz MV (2015) Fine-scale environmental specialization of reef-building corals might be limiting reef recovery in the Florida Keys. Ecology 96: 3197-3212.

Kenkel CD, Setta SP, Matz MV (2015) Heritable differences in fitness-related traits among populations of the mustard hill coral, Porites astreoides. Heredity 115: 509-516.

Klepac CN, Beal J, Kenkel CD, Sproles A, Polinski JM, Williams MA, Matz MV, Voss JD (2015) Seasonal stability of coral-Symbiodinium associations in the subtropical coral habitat of St. Lucie Reef, Florida. Marine Ecology Progress Series 532: 137-151.

Davies SW, Treml EA, Kenkel CD, Matz MV (2014) Exploring the role of Micronesian islands in the maintenance of coral genetic diversity in the Pacific Ocean. Molecular Ecology 24: 70-82.

Quigley KM, Davies SW, Kenkel CD, Willis BL, Matz MV, Bay LK (2014) Deep-sequencing method for quantifying background abundances of Symbiodinium types: exploring the rare Symbiodinium biosphere in reef-building corals. PLoS ONE 9(4):e94297.

Kenkel CD, Sheridan C, Leal MC, Bhagooli R, Castillo KD, Kurata N, McGinty E, Goulet TL, Matz M (2014) Diagnostic gene expression biomarkers of coral thermal stress. Molecular Ecology Resources 14: 667-678.

Kenkel CD, Goodbody-Gringley G, Caillaud D, Davies S, Bartels E, Matz M (2013) Evidence for a host role in thermotolerance divergence between populations of the mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) from different reef environments. Molecular Ecology 22: 4335-4348.

Kenkel CD, Meyer E, Matz MV (2013) Gene expression under chronic heat stress in populations of the mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) from different thermal environments. Molecular Ecology 22: 4322-4334.

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