Professor Robert Steneck

Senior Scientist / Co-investigator


Bob Steneck is a marine ecologist whose laboratories are coral reefs in the Caribbean and Indopacific oceans and kelp forests in North America. There, he has studied sea urchins, fish, corals and lobsters as well as historical ecology, global climate change and the science of managing marine resources. Currently, his research focuses on what drives the resilience of coral reef ecosystems. Since he began studying Caribbean coral reefs in 1972 he has seen remarkable declines. Specifically he is interested in how degraded coral reefs recover from disturbances. This stimulated his current focus on what drives the recruitment of corals and other marine organisms, especially the relative demographic importance of larval connectivity versus the receptivity of the habitats into which larvae recruit.
Bob has written more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He received the research award from the International Lobster Congress, he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was selected as a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation. His research has been highlighted in Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly and National Public Radio, and in books such as The Secret Life of Lobsters and The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology/geology at Baldwin-Wallace College, a master's degree in botany and plant pathology at the University of Maine and a Ph.D. degree in earth and planetary sciences at the Johns Hopkins University.