Elizabeth (Liz) Stolte McGinty, PhD
Coral Reef Ecology
Marine Science & Conservation Working Group
PhD, Quantitative Biology
University of Texas-Arlington
BSc, Animal Bioscience; Minors in Microbiology and English The Pennsylvania State University
My broad research interests center on how the changing climate is affecting the coral reef ecosystem, as well as symbiotic organisms. I have specifically focused on the physiology and immunology of scleractinian coral and their symbiotic algal partners. Most coral rely on their mutualistic relationship with unicellular algae in the genus Symbiodinium, and this relationship is very sensitive to environmental stressors. As coral reefs around the globe are increasingly subject to extended periods of above average temperatures this symbiosis is being disrupted and is a significant source of coral decline. My main research has focused on studying and understanding the effect of elevated temperatures on the physiology of different algal symbiont, investigating the variability among symbionts and the potential impacts this may have on their symbioses.
In addition to research and teaching, I am very passionate about community outreach and involvement. The communication between scientists at all stages of their career (including students!) and members of the community is critical for all parties involved. For the public, the interaction fosters trust, environmental awareness, and receptiveness to conservation strategies that will be passed to others and future generations. For the scientists, it encourages a grounded and open-minded approach to conducting science, as well as introducing them to a potential source of untapped personal observations that can be incredibly useful to developing future research.
Teaching is one of my main passions, and I have been teaching coral reef ecology field courses in Panama since 2009. These courses have focused on introducing undergraduate and graduate students to directly working in the coral reef ecosystem, using a variety of approaches including lectures, literature reviews, group activites and independent research projects, all geared towards developing practical knowledge of experimental design and research skills. In addition, I have taught undergraduate laboratory courses in introducotry Biology I and II, Zoology, and Human Anatomy and Physiology.
Recent Research Contributions
Chaves L.C.T., Ormond C.G.A., McGinty E.S., Ferreira B.P. 2012. Space partitioning among damselfishes in the Caribbean coast of Panama: the role of habitat preferences. Neotropical Ichthyology. 10(3):633-642
McGinty E.S., Pieczonka J.N., and Mydlarz L.D. 2012. Variations in reactive oxygen release and antioxidant activity in multiple Symbiodinium types in response to elevated temperature. Microbial Ecology. 64(4):1000-1007. DOI: 10.1007/s00248-012-0085-z
Palmer C.V., McGinty E.S., Cummings D.J., Crader S.M., Bartels E., and Mydlarz L.D. 2011. Patterns of coral ecological immunology: Variation in the responses of Caribbean corals to elevated temperature and a pathogen elicitor. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214: 4240-4249.
Mydlarz L.D., McGinty E.S., and Harvell C.D. 2010. What are the physiological and immunological responses of coral to climate warming and disease? The Journal of Experimental Biology, 213: 934-945.
Kenkel K.D., Aglyamova G., Alamaru A., Bhagooli R., Capper R., Cunning JR., deVillers A., Haslun J.A., Hedouin L., Keshavmurthy S., Kuehl K.A., Mahmoud H., McGinty E.S., Montoya-Maya P.H., Palmer C.V., Pantile R., Sanchez J.A., Schils T., Silverstein R.N., Squiers L.B., Tang P.C., Goulet T.L., Matz M.V. In review. Diagnostic gene expression markers of acute heat-light stress in reef-building corals of the genus Porites. PLoS ONE.
Chaves, L., Ormond, C., McGinty, L., Marty, M., Nagy, M., Fehr, A., Paullin, C., Krongrad, L., Withers, A., and Padovani, B. 2011. Habitat segregation among damselfish in Bocas del Toro coral reefs, Panama: Effects of depth and wave exposure. III Brazilian Congress of Marine Biology.
McGinty E.S., Mydlarz L.D., and McMahon R.F. 2008. Production of reactive oxygen species in different Symbiodinium strains in culture. Poster presentation, the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
McGinty E.S., McMahon R.F., and Mydlarz L.D. 2009. The role of algal oxidative stress in coral decline: an inter-cladal comparison. Oral presentation, Benthic Ecology meeting, Texas A&M Corpus Christi University, Corpus Christi, Texas.
McGinty E.S., McMahon R.F., and Mydlarz L.D. 2009. The role of algal symbionts in coral stress tolerance. Poster presentation, the 6th International Symbiosis Society Congress, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
McGinty E.S., McMahon R.F., and Mydlarz L.D. 2010. Stress, Symbiodinium, and coral decline: an inter-cladal comparison of symbiont responses to elevated temperatures. Oral presentation, Benthic Ecology meeting, University of North Carolina – Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina.
McGinty ES, McMahon RF, Mydlarz LD. 2011. Shifting from mutualism to parasitism under environmental stress: Physiological evidence in symbiotic algae. Poster presentation, the 96th Ecological Society of America annual meeting, Austin, TX.