• Title Research Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Education PhD, Tufts University, 2007
  • Web Address rotjanlab.org
  • Phone (617)353-5087
  • Area of Interest Marine ecology, conservation biology, behavioral ecology, organismal physiology, coral reefs

Current Research

Our research focuses on various ecological processes governing marine ecosystem structuring. Many of these processes touch on areas of symbiosis, behavioral ecology, and conservation biology. We use exploratory observations combined with manipulative experiments across multiple ecological levels, working to unite mechanistic patterns at the ecosystem, community, population, and organismal levels. Specifically, we integrate field observations in the Central Pacific, Caribbean, and New England with lab experiments focused on organismal physiology and ecology, largely focused on coral reef ecosystems and organisms.

The lab focuses heavily on marine protected areas (specifically the Phoenix Islands Protected Area [Kiribati] and the Southwater Caye Marine Reserve [Belize]), coral physiology and organismal biology with tropical and temperate species, and on behavioral ecology of tropical marine invertebrates, including corals and crustaceans. Our lab has a growing interest in the comparing wild versus urban and coastal ecosystems.

Selected Publications

  • DeFilippo, L., EM Burmester, L Kaufman, and RD Rotjan. 2016. Patterns of surface lesion recovery in the northern star coral, Astrangia poculata. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 481: 15-24.
  • Kemp, D.W., D.J. Thornhill, R.D. Rotjan, R. Iglesias-Prieto, W.K. Fitt, and G.W. Schmidt. 2015. Spatially-distinct and regionally-endemic Symbiodinium assemblages in the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata. Coral Reefs 34: 535.
  • Mangubhai, S, AM Strauch, DO Obura, G Stone, and RD Rotjan. 2014. Short-term changes of fish assemblages observed in the near-pristine reefs of the Phoenix Islands. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 24(2): 505-518.
  • Rotjan RD, R Jamieson, B Carr, L Kaufman, S Mangubhai, D Obura, R Pierce, B Rimon, B Ris, S Sandin, P Shelley, R Sumaila, S Taei, H Tausig, T Teroroko, S Thorrold, B Wikgren, T Toatu, G Stone. 2014. Establishment, management, and maintenance of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. In: Johnson, ML and J Sandell. 2014. Advances in Marine Biology: Marine Managed Areas and Fisheries, vol. 69 289-324.
  • Dimond, JL, AH Kerwin, RD Rotjan, K Sharp, FJ Stewart, and DJ Thornhill. 2013. A simple temperature-based model predicts the upper latitudinal limit of the temperate coral Astrangia poculata. Coral Reefs 32(2): 401-409.
  • Rotjan RD and JA Idjadi. 2013. Surf and Turf: Toward better synthesis by cross-system understanding. Oikos 122(2): 285-287.
  • Rotjan, RD, JR Chabot, & SM Lewis. 2010. Social context of shell acquisition in Coenobita clypeatus hermit crabs. Behavioral Ecology 21(3): 639-646.
  • Rotjan, RD and SM Lewis. 2008. The impact of coral predators on tropical reefs. Marine Ecology Progress Series 367: 73-91.

Courses Taught:

  • BI 523: Marine Urban Ecology
  • BI 539: Coral Reef Dynamics: Shallow Waters, deep time
  • BI 260: Marine Biology
  • BI 303: Ecology

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