About Camille Gaynus

Water has been a consistent, in my life for over twenty years. I first began swimming at the age of three through the Roxborough YMCA in Philadelphia. This experience drove me to competitive swim throughout middle and high school.It was not until I spent a summer at the University of Penn as a Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science (TREES) student that I realized I could make a career out of studying natural phenomena. I then entered Hampton University with a Marine and Environmental Science major. I credit my experiences at Hampton with not only showing me just how many possibilities there are in marine science, but giving me opportunities to learn new skills in the field of marine science. The professors and students, some who have also recited their PhD in a marine science field helped me to obtain current scientific knowledge, but more importantly opportunities to learn more about the ocean. The nail in the coffin came when I was given the opportunity through The Diversity Project an initiative through the University of California Office of the President to get a SCUBA certification and travel to one of the most  biodiverse regions in the world,Bali Indonesia. Upon seeing my first coral reef in person, I was hooked and knew I wanted to see more. The following year, I entered as a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at UCLA, where I worked in the Fong lab. A common sign of coral degradation is the transition from coral to algal dominance.  My PhD research focused on the environmental factors influence turf algal proliferation across a gradient of reefs in Moorea French Polynesia. After receiving my PhD in Biology from UCLA, I will continue studying reef algal communities as a postdoctoral research. I will take this time to examine the hidden diversity in a turf algae and how diversity changes due to stressors impacting reefs.