Marcelle Muniz Barreto

Ph.D. Students



B2/L2 - Sea Side - 2207-WS03


I graduated in Biological/Environmental sciences in Brazil, focusing on terrestrial ecology. My first encounter with marine sciences was during a semester abroad in Puerto Rico, where I investigated epibionts of the sea cucumber Holothuria mexicana. Since then, I have continued studying the sea during my Master's degree. For my thesis, I studied phytoplankton growth and grazing rates under increased temperature.

After my master's degree I set up to work on different conservation and outreach programs in Central America. I have worked with sea turtle ecology, aquatic birds communities and general biodiversity assessments. While working as an environmental educator in Belize, I started to feel the call of science again and decided to join KAUST as a visiting student, working on coral microbiome. Now as a PhD student, I am excited to investigate what makes some corals more thermo-tolerant than others, how much of this is passed on to their offspring, and build up knowledge on the potential of assisted evolution for reef management.

Research Interests

Marine ecology; coral reef ecology; climate change; ecological genomics; symbiosis


  • PhD in Marine Sciences- KAUST, Saudi Arabia (2018-present)
  • MSc in Marine biodiversity and conservation, Ghent University & Université Pierre et Marie Curie (2012)
  • BSc in Biological/Environmental Sciences, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, Brasil (2009)

KAUST Affiliations

● Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)

● Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE)

Research Interests Keywords

Marine Ecology Coral Reefs Climate Change Symbiosis Ecology Genomics