UCI biologist seeking to save coral reefs honored by Ecological Society of America
By UC Irvine
Joleah Lamb, a UCI biologist who studies the impact of infectious diseases on the oceans, has been named an Early Career Fellow by the Ecological Society of America, the world’s largest association of professional ecologists. Early Career Fellows are chosen based on their advanced ecological knowledge and applications as well as potential to make notable ongoing contributions to the field. In honoring Lamb, the ESA cited her “transformative environmental research and outstanding contributions to science communication at the interface of ecosystem function and public health, particularly solutions-based research” into tropical seagrass meadows, coral reef health and how plastics are causing infectious disease in corals. “The award is very motivating, because it shows this research is important and could help shape policy and lives,” said Lamb, an assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology. “Our oceans are facing a crisis due to human impacts that can only be solved by large-scale global teamwork.” Lamb contributed one of the largest datasets, encompassing over 1 million corals, to a landmark 2019 study of how to save reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Researchers found that more than half have the potential to be restored if action is taken immediately.