Ilsa B Kuffner, Ph.D.

Biography

As a research marine biologist for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, I investigate the causes and effects of coral reef degradation. I explore local- to global-scale stressors on reefs, and experimentally determine how environmental variables such as sea-surface temperature, water quality, seawater chemistry, nuisance macroalgae, and ocean acidification affect coral growth, the community structure of reefs, and the process of reef building. My work informs resource managers about the mechanisms causing reef degradation and how management efforts may be improved to protect and restore degraded reefs.  Please visit the USGS Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies (CREST) website for more information: http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest/.

Education:

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Zoology, Ph.D. Chair: Paul L. Jokiel, 1999
Bachelor of ArtsUniversity of New Hampshire, Department of Zoology, Minor: Marine Biology, 1993

Professional Experience:

Research Marine Biologist, US Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Coastal & Marine Geology Science Center, 2002 to present
Faculty, School for Field Studies, Center for Marine Resource Studies, Turks & Caicos Islands, 2001 to 2002
Director, Forfar Field Station, Andros Island, Bahamas, 2000 to 2001
Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Guam Marine Laboratory, Post-doc advisor: Valerie J. Paul, 1999 to 2000

 

Science and Products

Publications

Filter Total Items: 28
[title_1]
Year Published: 2017

Fidelity of the Sr/Ca proxy in recording ocean temperature in the western Atlantic coral Siderastrea siderea

Massive corals provide a useful archive of environmental variability, but careful testing of geochemical proxies in corals is necessary to validate the relationship between each proxy and environmental parameter throughout the full range of conditions experienced by the recording organisms. Here we use samples from a coral-growth study to test the hypothesis that Sr/Ca in the coral Siderastrea...

Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Roberts, Kelsey E.; Flannery, Jennifer A.; Morrison, Jennifer M.; Richey, Julie
Kuffner, I. B., K. E. Roberts, J. A. Flannery, J. M. Morrison, and J. N. Richey (2017) Fidelity of the Sr/Ca proxy in recording ocean temperature in the western Atlantic coral Siderastrea siderea. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 18, doi:10.1002/2016GC006640.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Collection methods and descriptions of coral cores extracted from massive corals in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A.

Cores from living coral colonies were collected from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A., to obtain skeletal records of past coral growth and allow geochemical reconstruction of environmental variables during the corals’ centuries-long lifespans. The samples were collected as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project (http:/coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest) that...

Weinzierl, Michael S.; Reich, Christopher D.; Hickey, T. Donald; Bartlett, Lucy A.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.
Weinzierl, M.S., Reich, C.D., Hickey, T.D., Bartlett, L.A., and Kuffner, I.B., 2016, Collection methods and descriptions of coral cores extracted from massive corals in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A.: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1182, 8 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161182.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

The structure and composition of Holocene coral reefs in the Middle Florida Keys

The Florida Keys reef tract (FKRT) is the largest coral-reef ecosystem in the continental United States. The modern FKRT extends for 362 kilometers along the coast of South Florida from Dry Tortugas National Park in the southwest, through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), to Fowey Rocks reef in Biscayne National Park in the northeast. Most reefs along the FKRT are sheltered by...

Toth, Lauren T.; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Kuffner, Ilsa B.
Toth, L.T., Stathakopoulos, Anastasios, and Kuffner, I.B., 2016, The structure and composition of Holocene coral reefs in the Middle Florida Keys: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1074, 27 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161074.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs

Continuing coral-reef degradation in the western Atlantic is resulting in loss of ecological and geologic functions of reefs. With the goal of assisting resource managers and stewards of reefs in setting and measuring progress toward realistic goals for coral-reef conservation and restoration, we examined reef degradation in this region from a geological perspective. The importance of ecosystem...

Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Toth, Lauren
Kuffner, I. B., and L. T. Toth. 2016. A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs. Conservation Biology 30:706-715.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

A new record of the late Pleistocene coral Pocillopora palmata from the Dry Tortugas, Florida reef tract, USA

Pocilloporid corals dominated shallow-water environments in the Caribbean during much of the Cenozoic; however, the regional diversity of this family declined over the last 15 My, culminating with the extinction of its final member, Pocillopora palmata, during the latest Pleistocene. Here we present a new record of P. palmata from Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys and infer its...

Toth, Lauren; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Cheng, Hai; Edwards, R. Lawrence
Toth, L.T., I.B. Kuffner, H. Cheng, and R.L. Edwards. 2015. A new record of the Pleistocene coral, Pocillopora palmata, from the Dry Tortugas, Florida Reef Tract, USA. PALAIOS 30: 827–835.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Investigación del USGS sobre el ecosistema de arrecifes de coral en el Atlántico

Información General Los arrecifes de coral son estructuras sólidas, biomineralizadas que protegen comunidades costeras actuando como barreras protectoras de peligros tales como los huracanes y los tsunamis. Estos proveen arena a las playas a través de procesos naturales de erosión, fomentan la industria del turismo, las actividades recreacionales y proveen hábitats pesqueros esenciales. La conti-...

Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Yates, Kimberly K.; Zawada, David G.; Richey, Julie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Toth, Lauren T.; Torres-Garcia, Legna M.
Kuffner, I.B., Yates, K.K., Zawada, D.G., Richey, J.N., Kellogg, C.A., Toth, L.T., and Torres-Garcia, L., 2015, Investigación del USGS sobre el ecosistema de arrecifes de coral en el Atlántico: Servicio Geológico de los Estados Unidos Hoja de Información 2015-3074, 2 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20153074.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

USGS research on Atlantic coral reef ecosystems

Overview Coral reefs are massive, biomineralized structures that protect coastal communities by acting as barriers to hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis. They provide sand for beaches through the natural process of erosion, support tourism and recreational industries, and provide essential habitat for fisheries. The continuing global degradation of coral reef ecosystems is well documented.

Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Yates, Kimberly K.; Zawada, David G.; Richey, Julie N.; Kellogg, Christina A.; Toth, Lauren T.
Kuffner, I.B., Yates, K.K., Zawada, D.G., Richey, J.N., Kellogg, C.A., and Toth, L.T., 2015, USGS research on Atlantic coral reef ecosystems: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2015-3073, 2 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20153073.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Understanding ocean acidification impacts on organismal to ecological scales

Ocean acidification (OA) research seeks to understand how marine ecosystems and global elemental cycles will respond to changes in seawater carbonate chemistry in combination with other environmental perturbations such as warming, eutrophication, and deoxygenation. Here, we discuss the effectiveness and limitations of current research approaches used to address this goal. A diverse combination of...

Andersson, Andreas J; Kline, David I; Edmunds, Peter J; Archer, Stephen D; Bednaršek, Nina; Carpenter, Robert C; Chadsey, Meg; Goldstein, Philip; Grottoli, Andrea G.; Hurst, Thomas P; King, Andrew L; Kübler, Janet E.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Mackey, Katherine R M; Menge, Bruce A.; Paytan, Adina; Riebesell, Ulf; Schnetzer, Astrid; Warner, Mark E; Zimmerman, Richard C
Andersson, A. J., D. I. Kline, P. J. Edmunds, S. D. Archer, N. Bednaršek, R. C. Carpenter, M. Chadsey, P. Goldstein, A. G. Grottoli, T. P. Hurst, A. L. King, J. E. Kübler, I. B. Kuffner, K. R. M. Mackey, B. A. Menge, A. Paytan, U. Riebesell, A. Schnetzer, M. E. Warner, and R. C. Zimmerman. 2015. Understanding ocean acidification impacts on organismal to ecological scales. Oceanography 28:16-27.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: historic in situ observations

There is strong evidence that global climate change over the last several decades has caused shifts in species distributions, species extinctions, and alterations in the functioning of ecosystems. However, because of high variability on short (i.e., diurnal, seasonal, and annual) timescales as well as the recency of a comprehensive instrumental record, it is difficult to detect or provide...

Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Lidz, Barbara H.; Hudson, J. Harold; Anderson, Jeffery S.
A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: historic in situ observations; 2014; Article; Journal; Estuaries and Coasts; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Lidz, Barbara H.; Hudson, J. Harold; Anderson, Jeffery S.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2013

Methods for monitoring corals and crustose coralline algae to quantify in-situ calcification rates

Morrison, Jennifer M.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Hickey, T. Don
Methods for monitoring corals and crustose coralline algae to quantify in-situ calcification rates; 2013; OFR; 2013-1159; Morrison, Jennifer M.; Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Hickey, T. Don
[title_1]
Year Published: 2013

Calcification rates of the massive coral Siderastrea siderea and crustose coralline algae along the Florida Keys (USA) outer-reef tract

Coral reefs are degrading on a global scale, and rates of reef-organism calcification are predicted to decline due to ocean warming and acidification. Systematic measurements of calcification over space and time are necessary to detect change resulting from environmental stressors. We established a network of calcification monitoring stations at four managed reefs along the outer Florida Keys...

Kuffner, I.B.; Hickey, T.D.; Morrison, J.M.
Calcification rates of the massive coral Siderastrea siderea and crustose coralline algae along the Florida Keys (USA) outer-reef tract; 2013; Article; Journal; Coral Reefs; Kuffner, I. B.; Hickey, T. D.; Morrison, J. M.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2012

An apparent "vital effect" of calcification rate on the Sr/Ca temperature proxy in the reef coral Montipora capitata

Kuffner, Ilsa; Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Kuulei; Andersson, Andreas; Mackenzie, Fred T.
An apparent "vital effect" of calcification rate on the Sr/Ca temperature proxy in the reef coral Montipora capitata; 2012; Article; Journal; Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems; Kuffner, Ilsa; Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Kuulei; Andersson, Andreas; Mackenzie, Fred T.

Pre-USGS Publications

Kuffner, I. B. and V. J. Paul, 2004, Effects of the cyanobacteria Lyngbya majuscula on the larval settlement of the reef corals Acropora serculosa and Pocillopora damicornis: Coral Reefs23:455-458.
Kuffner, I.B., 2002, Effects of ultraviolet radiation and water motion on the reef coral, Porites compressa: A transplantation experiment: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology270(2):147-169.
Kuffner, I.B. and V. J. Paul, 2001, Effects of nitrate, phosphate and iron on the growth of macroalgae and benthic cyanobacteria from Cocos Lagoon, Guam: Marine Ecology Progress Series222:63-72.
Kuffner, I. B., 2001, Effects of ultraviolet radiation and water motion on the reef coral Porites compressa Dana: a flume experiment: Marine Biology 138:467-476.
Kuffner, I.B., 2001, Effects of ultraviolet radiation on larval recruitment of the reef coral, Pocillopora damicornis: Marine Ecology Progress Series 217:251-261.
Kuffner, I.B., 1999, The effects of ultraviolet radiation on reef corals and the sun-screening role of mycosporine-like amino acids: Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Zoology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, 164 pp.
Banaszak, A. T., M. P. Lesser, I. B. Kuffner and M. Ondrusek, 1998, Relationship between ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the concentration of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) in marine organisms: Bulletin of Marine Science 63(3):617-628.
Kuffner, I. B., M. Ondrusek and M. P. Lesser, 1995, The distribution of mycosporine-like amino acids in the tissues of Hawaiian scleractinia; a depth profile: in D. Gulko and P.L. Jokiel (eds.) Ultraviolet Radiation and Coral Reefs. HIMB Tech Report No. 41, Sea Grant, Honolulu, pp. 77-85.
Grottoli-Everett, A., I. B. Kuffner, 1995, Individual polyp response to UV radiation in Montipora verrucosa: in D. Gulko and P.L. Jokiel (eds.) Ultraviolet Radiation and Coral Reefs. HIMB Tech Report No. 41, Sea Grant, Honolulu, pp. 115-120.