Emily Howells

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: ejh10@nyu.edu

Emily Howells completed her Ph.D. in Marine Biology at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Australia. Her doctoral research evaluated the importance of algal endosymbionts in shaping the thermal tolerance of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. At NYUAD, she works to identify unique characteristics of corals living in high temperature waters.


  • Howells E, Willis B, Bay L, van Oppen M (2016) Microsatellite allele sizes alone are insufficient to delineate species boundaries in Symbiodinium. Molecular Ecology 25: 2719-2723
  • Howells E, Abrego D, Meyer E, Kirk N, Burt J (2016) Host adaptation and unexpected symbiont partners enable reef-building corals to tolerate extreme temperatures. Global Change Biology 22: 2702-2714
  • Howells E, Ketchum R,  Bauman A,  Mustafa Y, Watkins K, Burt J (2016) Species-specific trends in the reproductive output of corals across environmental gradients and bleaching histories. Marine Pollution Bulletin: 105: 532-529
  • Jin Y, Lundgren P, Lutz A, Raina JB, Howells E, Paley A, Willis B, van Oppen M (2016) Genetic markers for novel approaches in coral reef management and restoration. Science Advances 2: e1500842
  • Gilmour J, Underwood J, Howells E, Gates E, Heyward A (2016) Biannual spawning and temporal reproductive isolation in Acropora corals. PLoS ONE 11: e0150916
  • Hoey A, Howells E, Johansen J, Hobbs J-P, Messmer V, McCowan D, Wilson S, Pratchett M (2016) Recent advances in understanding the effects of climate change on coral reefs. Diversity 8:12
  • Howells E, Abrego D, Vaughan G, Burt J (2014) Coral spawning in the Gulf of Oman and relationship to latitudinal variation in spawning season in the northwest Indian Ocean. Scientific Reports 4: 7484
  • Baird A, Abrego D, Howells E, Cumbo V (2014) The reproductive season of Acropora in Socotra, Yemen. F1000 Research 3
  • Howells E, Berkelmans R, van Oppen M, Willis B, Bay L (2013) Historical thermal regimes define limits to coral acclimatisation. Ecology 94: 1078-1088
  • Howells E, Willis B, Bay L, van Oppen M (2013) Spatial and temporal genetic structure of Symbiodinium populations within a common reef-building coral on the central Great Barrier Reef. Molecular Ecology 22: 3693-3708
  • Howells E, Beltran V, Larsen N, Bay L, Willis B, van Oppen M (2012) Coral thermal tolerance shaped by local adaptation of photosymbionts. Nature Climate Change 2: 116-120
  • van Oppen M, Souter P, Howells E, Heyward A, Berkelmans R (2011) Novel genetic diversity through somatic mutations: fuel for adaptation of reef corals? Diversity 3: 405-423
  • Howells E, van Oppen M, Wills B (2009) High genetic differentiation and cross-shelf patterns of genetic diversity among Great Barrier Reef populations of Symbiodinium. Coral Reefs 28: 215-222
  • Bay L, Howells E, van Oppen M (2009) Isolation, characterisation and cross amplification of thirteen microsatellite loci for coral endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium clade C). Conservation Genetics Resources 1: 199-203