Iliana Baums

Iliana
Baums

Associate Professor of Biology

Expertise:

  • Earth Science

Focus Areas:

About

  • Director of the Center for Marine Science and Technology at Penn State
  • Expert in molecular ecology and evolution of corals and advises managers and practitioners on coral conservation strategies
  • Research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and NOAA and NGOs.

Iliana Baums is an evolutionary ecologist focusing on applying molecular tools to answer fundamental questions about marine evolution and ecology to guide coral reef conservation efforts. She is the director of the Center for Marine Science and Technology at Penn State.

Baums is interested in stress responses and population structure of cold water and warm water corals to understand their ability to adapt or acclimatize to environmental change. She completes field experiments with molecular techniques, including population genomics, gene expression, epigenetics and metabolomics assays. She is particularly interested in understanding the interactions between coral hosts and their symbionts under changing environmental conditions.

Her lab works across the disciplines of genetics, ecology, evolution and oceanography to understand the processes that shape populations in marine environments and create highly diverse and productive systems.

Currently, her lab is working on genome assemblies of the threatened elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, and the staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis.

On the Web

The Baums Lab In the Baums Lab we use molecular techniques to answer fundamental questions about marine evolution and ecology to guide coral reef conservation efforts.

In The Media

Hybrid Corals: Sex Gone Awry or Saving Grace?

from Scientific American September 25, 2014

"There is evidence that A. prolifera is indeed fertile, and perhaps in more ways than one. Genetic testing has shown that first generation hybrids can mate back with their wanton parent, the staghorns. This creates a coral catch-22. The better the first-generation hybrids do, the more their mixed up genes clutter spawning events, leading to more back crosses and fewer pure staghorns in the population."

"Without living corals, beaches would erode at an alarming rate -- there are already areas in the Caribbean that are losing a meter of beach a year due to reef loss."

Asset Downloads

These assets are available for use. All rights reserved. Credit Penn State University.

Shallow reef waters were once dominated by extensive thickets of the Caribbean Elkhorn Coral, Acropora palmata, a species that is now endangered. This impressive stand, photographed in Curacao, provides habitat for numerous fish and invertebrate species.

Shallow reef waters were once dominated by extensive thickets of the Caribbean Elkhorn Coral, Acropora palmata, a species that is now endangered. This impressive stand, photographed in Curacao, provides habitat for numerous fish and invertebrate species.


Credit: Iliana B. Baums, Penn State

Coral releasing egg/sperm bundles which will be fertilized in the water to form poppy-seed-sized larvae.

Coral releasing egg/sperm bundles which will be fertilized in the water to form poppy-seed-sized larvae.


Credit: Jamie Craggs, Project Coral, Horniman Museum and Gardens

Iliana Baums, Marine Biologist

Iliana Baums, Marine Biologist


Credit: Penn State

Iliana Baums

Iliana Baums


Credit: Penn State


Credit: Penn State


Credit: Penn State


Credit: Penn State


Credit: Penn State

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