Katie L. Barott, PhD
Assistant Professor

I am interested in understanding how symbiosis between corals and their diverse microbial residents functions, from the cellular mechanisms regulating their interactions to the subsequent ecological consequences. The fundamental mechanisms driving symbiosis are particularly important due to the devastating influence of climate change being experienced on reefs worldwide.

2012              Ph.D. Cell and Molecular Biology
University of California San Diego
San Diego State University
2006              B.S. Zoology
B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Michigan State University
Professional Experience
  • Assistant Professor
             Department of Biology
             University of Pennsylvania (2017 - present).

  • Postdoctoral Researcher
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (2015 – 2017).
Mechanisms of coral adaptation and acclimatization to climate change.
Advisor: Dr. Ruth Gates 
  • Postdoctoral Researcher
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego (2012 – 2015).
Cellular mechanisms regulating coral symbiosis and response to ocean acidification.
Advisor: Dr. Martin Tresguerres
Guest scientist: Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Monaco. Hosts: Drs. Alex Venn and Sylvie Tambutté (4 months).
Guest scientist: Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Host: Dr. Ruth Gates (8 months).
  • Doctoral Student 
San Diego State University, Department of Biology (2007 – 2012).
Dissertation: The role of bacteria in competition between corals and benthic algae.
Advisor: Dr. Forest Rohwer.
  • Research Assistant 
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry (2006 – 2007)
Microbial oceanography.
Advisors: Dr. Elizabeth Kujawinski and Dr. Benjamin Van Mooy.
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
Michigan State University, Department of Plant Pathology (2005 – 2006) 
Fungal pathogens of grapevines.
Advisor: Jerri Gillett.
  • Summer Student Fellow (NSF REU)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Biological Oceanography (2005)
Oxidative stress response in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Advisor: Dr. Mark Hahn.
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant
Michigan State University, Department of Zoology (2002 – 2005)
Aquatic ecology of macroinvertebrates.
Advisor: Dr. Thomas Burton.
Teaching Experience
  • Instructor:
           ​  Introductory Biology, UPenn (2018)
             Marine Biology, UPenn (2017)

  • Co-Instructor:
Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Lab, SDSU (2011)
  • Research mentor:
Postdoctoral researchers: Kelsey Speer
Doctoral students: Lisa Valenti
Doctoral rotation students: Lisa Valenti, Luke Anderson
Masters students: Sidney Perez, Eric Hester
Undergraduates: UPenn: Christopher Carlson, Elyse Kochman, Sarah Werner, Phoebe Somani; Hawaii: Ella Wilmot, Jessica Sevilla, Tehani Louise-Perkins; SDSU: Livia Bonetti, Victoria Hosford, Allison Gregg
High school students: Joshua Kouassi, Dyson Chee
Teachers: Brooke Chandler
  • Guest lecturer:
Advanced Topics in Marine Biology    
Corals and Coral Reefs
Marine Physiology
Current Research in Marine Biology
Introduction to Marine Biodiversity, Conservation and Global Change
Research Grants 
  • NSF Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: $170,000 
Project: Carbon dioxide, pH and bicarbonate sensing pathways in reef-building corals and regulation of homeostasis in response to ocean acidification. 
  • NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship: $118,000 (declined)
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship: $120,000
Project: Patterns of coral-associated bacterial diversity in Pacific and Caribbean reefs of Panama. 

Gibbin E, T Krueger, H Putnam, K Barott, J Bodin, R Gates, A Meibom. (2018) Short-term        thermal acclimation modifies the metabolic condition of the coral holobiont. Frontiers in Marine Science 5(10): 1-11.


Barott K, M Barron, and M Tresguerres. (2017) Identification of a molecular sensor of pH in coral. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284(1866): 20171769.

Putnam H*, K Barott*, T Ainsworth, R Gates. (2017) The vulnerability and resilience of reef-building corals. Current Biology. 27(11): pR528-R540 *Contributed equally

Tresguerres M, K Barott, M Barron, D Deheyn, D Kline, L Linsmayer. (2017) Cell biology of reef-building corals: Ion transport, acid/base regulation, and energy metabolism. In “Acid-base balance and nitrogen excretion in invertebrates - Mechanisms and strategies in various invertebrate groups with considerations of challenges caused by ocean acidification” M O’Donnell and D Weihrauch (eds), Springer, Germany.

Knowles B, C Silveira, B Bailey, K Barott, et al. (2016) Lytic to temperate switching of viral communities. Nature. 531(7595): 466-470.

Hester E, K Barott, J Nulton, M Vermeij, F Rohwer. (2016) Stable and sporadic symbiotic communities of coral and algal holobionts. ISME Journal 10: 1157-1169.

McDole Somera, T, B Bailey, K Barott, J Grasis, M Hatay, B Hilton, N Hisakawa, B Nosrat, J Nulton, C Silveira, C Sullivan, R Brainard, F Rohwer. (2016) Energetic differences between bacterioplankton trophic groups and coral reef resistance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 283: 20160467.

Kujawinski E, K Longnecker, K Barott, R Weber, M Kido Soule. (2016) Microbial community structure affects marine dissolved organic matter composition. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:45.

Barott K, A Venn, S Perez, S Tambutté, M Tresguerres. (2015) Corals host cells acidify symbiotic algal microenvironment to promote photosynthesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 112(2): 607-612.
Barott K, S Perez, L Linsmayer, and M Tresguerres. (2015) Differential localization of ion transporters suggests distinct cellular mechanisms for calcification and photosynthesis between two coral species. Amer. J. Physiol. 309(3): R235-R246.    
Barott K and M Tresguerres. (2015) Immunolocalization of proteins in corals: the V-type H+-ATPase proton pump. Bio-protocol 5(17): e1573.
Tresguerres M, K Barott, M Barron, J Roa. (2014) Established and potential physiological roles of bicarbonate-sensing soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) in aquatic animals. Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 663-672.
Quistad S, A Stotland, J Grasis, K Barott, C Smurthweites, B Hilton, R Wolkowicz, F Rohwer. (2014) The evolution of TNF-induced apoptosis reveals 550 million years of functional conservation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 111(26): 9567–9572.
Kelly L, G Williams, K Barott, et al. (2014) Local genomic adaptation of coral and algal-associated microbiomes to gradients of natural variability and anthropogenic stressors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 111(28): 10227-10232.
Barott K, Y Helman, K Hess, M Barron, L Haramaty, J Buck, L Levin, and M Tresguerres. (2013) High adenylyl cyclase activity and in vivo cAMP fluctuations in corals suggest central physiological role. Scientific Reports 3: 1379.
Gregg, A, M Hatay, A Haas, N Robinett, K Barott, M Vermeij, K Marhaver, F Rohwer. (2013) Biological oxygen demand optode analysis of coral reef associated microbial communities exposed to algal exudates. PeerJ 1:e107.
Rohwer F and K Barott. (2013) Viral information. Biology & Philosophy 28(2): 283-297.
Janouškovec J, A Horák, K Barott, F Rohwer, and P Keeling. (2013) Environmental distribution of coral-associated relatives of apicomplexan parasites. ISME Journal, 7: 444-447.
Barott K and F Rohwer. (2012) Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs. Trends in Microbiology 20(12): 621-
628. Cover article.
Barott K, G Williams, M Vermeij, J Harris, J Smith, F Rohwer and S Sandin. (2012) Natural history of coral-algae competition
across a gradient of human activity in the Line Islands. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 460: 1-12. Feature Article.
Barott K, B Rodriquez-Brito, M Youle, K Marhaver, M Vermeij, J Smith, and F Rohwer. (2012) Microbial to reef scale interactions
between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 279(1733): 1655-
Kelly L, K Barott, E Dinsdale, A Friedlander, B Nosrat, D Obura, E Sala, S Sandin, J Smith, M Vermeij, G Williams, D Willner, and F Rohwer. (2012) Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs. ISME Journal 6: 638-649.
McDole T, J Nulton, K Barott, B Felts, C Hand, M Hatay, H Lee, M Nadon, B Nosrat, P Salamon, B Bailey, S Sandin, B Vargas-Angel,
M Youle, B Zgliczynski, R Brainard, F Rohwer. (2012) Assessing coral reefs on a Pacific-wide scale using the microbialization score. PLoS One. 7(9): e43233.
Janouškovec J, A Horák, K Barott, F Rohwer, and P Keeling. (2012) Global analysis of plastid diversity reveals new apicomplexan-related lineages associated with coral reefs. Current Biology 22(13): R518-519.
Cassman, N, A Prieto Davo, K Walsh, G Silva, F Angly, S Akhter, K Barott, J Busch, T McDole, J Haggerty, D Willner, G Alarcón, O Ulloa, E DeLong, B Dulith, F Rohwer, E Dinsdale. (2012) Oxygen minimum zones harbor novel viral communities with low diversity. Environmental Microbiology 14(11): 3043-3065.
Barott K, B Rodriguez-Brito, J Janouškovec, K Marhaver, J Smith, P Keeling, and F Rohwer. (2011) Microbial diversity associated with four functional groups of benthic reef algae and the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis. Environmental Microbiology 13(5): 1192-1204.
Barott K, J Caselle, E Dinsdale, A Friedlander, J Maragos, D Obura, F Rohwer, S Sandin, J Smith, and B Zgliczynski. (2010) The lagoon at Caroline/Millennium Atoll, Republic of Kiribati: Natural history of a nearly pristine ecosystem. PLoS ONE 5(6): e10950.
Vermeij M, K Barott, Johnson, A and K Marhaver. (2010) Release of eggs from tentacles in a Caribbean coral. Coral Reefs 29(2): 411.
Barott K, J, Smith, E Dinsdale, M Hatay, S Sandin, and F Rohwer. (2009) Hyperspectral and physiological analyses of coral-algal interactions. PLoS ONE 4(11): e8043.
Angly F, D Willner, A Prieto-Davó, R Edwards, R Schmieder, R Vega Thurber, D Antonopoulos, K Barott, et al. (2009) The GAAS metagenomic tool and its estimations of viral and microbial average genome size in four major biomes. PLoS Computational Biology 5(12): e1000593.
Vega Thurber R, K Barott, D Hall, H Liu, B Rodriguez-Brito, C Desnues, R Edwards, M Haynes, F Angly, L Wegley, and F Rohwer. (2008) Metagenomic analysis indicates that stressors induce production of Herpes-like viruses in the coral Porites compressa. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 105(47): 18413-18418.
Invited Seminars

2018    Bryn Mawr College, Summer Science Research Program.
                Villanova University, Biology Seminar.
                Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Prokaryotic Seminar.
2017    Temple University, Biology Seminar.
                University of Pennsylvania, Biology Department Retreat.
2016    University of Southern California, Marine Biology Seminar.
                Boston University, Biology Seminar.
2015    Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Seminar.
                University of Pennsylvania, Biology Seminar.
                Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Ecology Seminar.
                San Francisco State University, Biology Seminar.
                Washington State University, Biology Seminar.
2014    Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Seminar.
                University of Hawaii, Oceanography Seminar.
                Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche, France, Ocean Acidification Seminar.
2013    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Marine Biology Seminar.
Conference and Workshop Presentations

Barott, K., J Davidson, A. Huffmyer, E. Lenz, J. Hancock, B. Glazer, R. Gates. Developing strategies to promote the resilience of coral symbiosis in the face of climate change. International Symbiosis Society Congress. Corvallis, OR (Oral)
Barott, K. Using the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida as a model system for studying pH sensing mechanisms in symbiotic cnidarians. Aiptasia Workshop. Corvallis, OR (Oral)

Barott, K. Understanding coral symbiosis: from cell biology to reef ecology. Astrangia Research Workshop (Oral)
Barott, K, Gates Coral Lab, S Lio, B Glazer, R Gates. Developing strategies to promote coral reef survival in the face of climate change. Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. Honolulu, HI (Oral)

Barott, K, M Barron, M Tresguerres. Soluble adenylyl cyclase is an evolutionarily conserved pH sensor in the coral Pocillopora damicornis. International Coral Reef Symposium. Honolulu, HI (Oral)

Barott, K, A Venn, S Tambutté, and M Tresguerres. Coral host cells acidify symbiotic algal microenvironment to promote photosynthesis. American Physiological Society Intersociety Meeting: Comparative approaches to grand challenges in physiology. San Diego, CA. Scholander Award Winner. (Oral)
Barott, K, A Venn, S Tambutte, and M Tresguerres. Host proton pump promotes photosynthesis in scleractinian corals. Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. Honolulu, HI. (Poster)

Barott, K, M Barron, and M Tresguerres. Mechanisms for pH sensing and regulation in corals. Society of Experimental Biology, Valencia, Spain. Young Investigator Award Finalist. (Oral)
Barott, K, M Barron, and M Tresguerres. Mechanisms for pH sensing and regulation in corals. Yosemite Symbiosis Workshop, Sierra Nevada Research Institute, CA. (Oral)

Barott, K. et al. Microbial contribution to competition between corals and benthic algae. International Coral Reef Symposium, Cairns, Australia. (Oral)

Barott, K, and F Rohwer. Competition between coral and algal holobionts. Yosemite Symbiosis Workshop, Sierra Nevada Research Institute, CA. (Poster)
Barott, K. et al. Competition with benthic algae affects physiology and microbial communities associated with tropical corals. American Society for Limnology and Oceanography San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Oral)

Barott, K. and F. Rohwer. Changes in microbial communities associated with coral-algal interactions. Canadian Inst. for Advanced Research: Integrated Microbial Biodiversity Program Meeting. Seattle, WA. (Oral)
Barott, K., B. Rodriguez-Brito and F. Rohwer. Bacterial communities associated with the coral Montastraea annularis and competing benthic algae. Intl Society of Microbial Ecology. Seattle, WA. (Poster)

Barott, K., J. Smith, E. Dinsdale, M. Hatay, S. Sandin, and F. Rohwer. Exploring coral-algal interfaces using hyperspectral imagery. Canadian Inst. for Advanced Research: Integrated Microbial Biodiversity Program Meeting. Asilomar, CA. (Poster)
Barott, K., N. Knowlton and F. Rohwer. Characterizing coral reef biodiversity at the micro scale. Canadian Inst. for Advanced Research: Integrated Microbial Biodiversity General Program Meeting. Asilomar, CA. (Oral)
Barott, K., R. Vega Thurber, and F. Rohwer. Understanding the role of viruses on coral reefs using metagenomics. Census of Marine Life Symposium and Workshop, University of Tokyo, Japan. (Oral)

Barott, K., D. Lipson, and W. Oechel. A positive feedback loop for global warming: methane production and microbial diversity in Arctic soils. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA. (Poster)
Sea Time
  • Northern Line Islands, Central Pacific (2010) M/Y Hanse Explorer – 28 days
  • Pacific Remote Island Areas, NOAA RAMP Cruise (2010) R/V Hi’ialikai – 23 days
  • Southern Line Islands, Central Pacific (2009) M/Y Hanse Explorer – 31 days
  • Iquique, Chile, Oxygen Minimum Zone (2008) R/V Vidal Gormaz – 10 days
  • Woods Hole, MA, 2005, R/V Tioga – 1 day
Shore-based Field Research
  • CARMABI Biological Research Station, Curacao (2011) – 20 days
  • CARMABI Biological Research Station, Curacao (2010) – 20 days
  • CARMABI Biological Research Station, Curacao (2009) – 25 days
  • Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (2008) – 16 days
  • Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science, Coral Reef Ecology *Course (2008) – 21 days
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science, MSU Field Studies in Marine and Estuarine Biology *Course (2004)
  • Barro Colorado Island and Bocas del Toro, STRI, Panama, MSU Tropical Biology *Course,  (2003) – 21 days
Outreach and Volunteer Experience
  • San Diego Coral Club: Coordinator (2010), Member (2008-2014)
  • San Diego Microbiology Group, Member (2007-2014)
  • Invited Speaker, Career Day, International School of Monaco 
  • Featured Scientist, SEA Days, Birch Aquarium at Scripps 
  • Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair Judge 
  • Host for Career Shadow Day for Mykaela Barnes, Freshman, High Tech High School, San Diego, CA 
  • Coral and Reefs, USA Magazine – Contributing author 
  • Guest, Spotlight on Curacao Coral Reefs, Local Curacao Television 
  • Northern Line Islands Blog Contributor (2010) http://coralreefsystems.org/
  • Committee for Humanity and Public Service, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Student Conservation Association, Environmental Education Intern – Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, AK
  • MSU Honors Students Actively Recruiting 
  • Residence Hall Mentor, Michigan State University Department of Residence Life 
  • Science Theater – Demonstrator for the Girls Math and Science Conference 
Academic Awards and Scholarships
  • Scholander Award Winner, American Physiological Society 
  • Young Investigator Award Finalist, Society for Experimental Biology 
  • Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Fellowship 
  • Bermuda Institute for Ocean Science (BIOS) Scholarship – Coral Reef Ecology Course 
  • MSU Distinguished Freshman Award 
  • NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates 
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship 
  • MSU Augenstein Memorial Award 
  • MSU Jeffrey Boettcher Travel Fund Award 
  • MSU Office of Study Abroad Award 
  • MSU Natural Science Study Abroad Award 
  • MSU Cole Excellence Award 
  • MSU Professorial Assistant Award 
  • MSU Cole Foundation International Study Award
  • National Merit Scholarship 
  • Michigan Merit Award 
Professional Service
Journal and Grant Reviewer:
  • National Science Foundation
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B
  • Marine Ecology Progress Series
  • ISME Journal
  • Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology
  • Molecular Ecology
  • Limnology and Oceanography
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Coral Reefs
  • Bulletin of Marine Science
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine and Freshwater Research
  • Marine Drugs
  • PLoS One
  • Scientific Reports
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • BMC Cell Biology
  • National Geographic Society
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more."  ~ Lord Byron