- ENV100 Introduction to Environmental Issues
- ENV115/L Marine Environmental Issues and Lab
- ENV415/L Advanced Marine Science and Lab
- ENV450 Earth System Science
- ENV485 Environmental Capstone Experience
- Special topics, including: Pandemics and the Environment
Dr. Lupita Ruiz-Jones is passionate about nature and living sustainably. Her experience living in different types of environments (New Mexico, southern Mexico, Georgia, Italy, California, and Hawaii) has cultivated an interest in understanding the science underlying nature and how humans impact nature. Dr. Lupita is an alumna of Chaminade University’s Environmental Studies program. During her time at Chaminade she became fascinated by coral reef science and pursued a PhD in coral eco-physiology at Stanford University. Dr. Lupita’s current research is based in Kaneohe Bay, where she is collaborating with researchers at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology to investigate environmental heterogeneity and coral genetic diversity. When not teaching or doing research she very much enjoys spending time in the waves, exploring beautiful natural environments, and drawing.
I was first introduced to marine biology research as an undergraduate fellow in the Undergraduates Mentoring in Environmental Biology program (later renamed Undergraduate Research and Mentoring) at the University of Hawai’i. I worked in the lab of Dr. Michael Hadfield at Kewalo Marine Lab studying neuron rearrangement during metamorphosis in a nudibranch found commonly in Hawaiian waters, Phestilla sibogae. My undergraduate research experience inspired me to pursue a PhD in coral biology and also culminated in my first scientific publication.
I transitioned to Stanford University in 2010 to start my graduate studies in the lab of Dr. Stephen Palumbi at Hopkins Marine Station. My dissertation work was focused on investigating the eco-physiology of the reef-building coral Acropora hyacinthus. My fieldwork was based on Ofu Island in American Samoa—a magical and remote island. Using transcriptome sequencing, I investigated how this species regulates gene expression when exposed to different types of environmental conditions in the reef. I also developed an approach to measured 5-day growth rates to understand how sensitive the calcification mechanism is to environmental variability in the reef.
After the first year of my teaching postdoc, I started a research collaboration with the amazing late Dr. Ruth Gates. I am working with two of her outstanding PhD students in the now Gates Coral Lab. Our research collaboration is investigating the spatial patterns of genetic connectivity in a commonly found reef-building coral in Hawaii, Montipora capitata. Our work is focused in Kaneohe Bay, which I find really interesting because it is a spatially heterogeneous mosaic and an urban reef on Hawai’i’s most populated island. Since the summer of 2017, we have been collecting various environmental data, including temperature, sedimentation rates, and water flow dynamics. We are using reduced-representation genome sequencing to analyze the genetic make-up of 600 coral colonies across the bay. Our goal is to develop a seascape map of the bay with environmental and genetic information. We are also collaborating with Dr. Josh Madin’s lab at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology to investigate patterns of coral bleaching across all our sites using photogrammetry.
Ph.D., Biology, Stanford University (2016)
B.S., Environmental Studies, Chaminade University of Honolulu (2009)
Ruiz-Jones, LJ & Palumbi, SR (2019). Sub-weekly coral linear extension measurements in a coral reef. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 516:114-122.
Thomas, L, Rose, N, Bay, R, Lopez, E, Morikawa, M, Ruiz-Jones, L, & Palumbi, S (2018). Mechanisms of heat tolerance in reef-building corals across a fine-grained environmental mosaic. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4:434.
Ruiz-Jones, LJ & Palumbi, SR (2017). Heat pulses during low tide alter coral transcription and may protect colonies from future bleaching. Science Advances, 3:e1601298.
Ruiz-Jones, LJ & Palumbi, SR (2015). Transcriptome-wide changes in coral gene expression at noon and midnight under field conditions. Biological Bulletin, 228:227-241.
Ruiz-Jones, GJ & Hadfield, MG (2011). Loss of sensory elements in the apical sensory organ during metamorphosis in the nudibranch Phestilla sibogae. Biological Bulletin, 220:39-46.
Strathmann, RR, Strathmann, MF, Ruiz-Jones, G, & Hadfield, MG (2010). Effect of plasticity in hatching on duration as a precompetent swimming larva in the nudibranch Phestilla sibogae. Invertebrate Biology, 129:309–318.