Marilyn Brandt

Epizootiology is an area of research that has only recently been employed for coral disease.  Coral diseases are now recognized as an increasingly important threat to the survival of coral reefs, most especially in the Caribbean region.  Information concerning coral diseases however is far from well documented and it has been suggested that epizootiological studies are the first step not only for general characterization of syndromes on the reef but also for determining whether relationships exist between coral disease and anthropogenic related stressors. 

She hopes to use a combined agent-based modeling and geostatistical approach to investigate the spread of disease on a coral reef.  Computer models are used often in human epidemiological studies to generate theories concerning the spread and distribution of disease.  GIS provides a valuable tool for analyzing and presenting the distribution of disease in a spatially accurate way.  Combining agent-based models and GIS provides an even greater edge to an investigator as it places the data in a real world context.

She graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Anthropology in May of 2001.  The following fall, she entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Miamiís Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) under the advisement of Dr. John McManus. Her field experiences have included three separate coral reef surveys with the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) in the Cayman Islands (1999), the Turks and Caicos Islands (1999), and Panama (2002). She has participated in several studies of the coral reef environment surrounding Little Cayman Island including assisting in a doctoral study of coral disease and completing a biogeographical survey.  She has also developed and implemented a summer sea camp for high school students of the Cayman Islands in 2001 and 2002. She is currently the active secretary for the Marine Science Graduate Student Organization at RSMAS.