Burt Marine Biology Lab

The Burt Lab at NYU Abu Dhabi serves as a hub for regionally relevant, globally impactful research on marine biology, utilizing the Arabian Gulf — the world’s warmest sea — as a natural laboratory to explore biology in a thermally extreme, marginal marine environment. Our work aims to understand the complexities of how marine ecosystems and organisms respond to, cope with, and adapt to extreme temperatures, providing a potential model for predicting the impacts of future climate change on marine fauna worldwide. With projects on corals and their symbionts, reef fishes, mangroves, and seagrass the Burt Lab seeks to deepen our understanding of the most important ecosystems and organismal groups that line regional coastlines, and guide development of policies and regulations for their conservation. 

Aside from this core focus, Burt Lab researchers engage in several research centers at NYU Abu Dhabi. Our research spans topics such as desalination and wastewater treatment through our Water Research Center, marine ecosystems health through Mubadala Arabian Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences, the social implications of coastal development and ecosystem change through the Center for Interacting Urban Networks (CITIES), and mechanisms underpinning adaptation to environmental extremes in the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology. The Burt Lab at NYUAD has published over 130 scholarly articles, chapters, and books since its establishment in 2009, including in leading journals such as Science Advances, Nature Communications, Global Change Biology, and others. Our goal is to address knowledge gaps on marine ecosystem and organismal responses to environmental pressures, in many instances to help guide local and regional policy and management practices.  

The lab is led by John A. Burt, Associate Professor of Biology and Head of Environmental Studies at NYU Abu Dhabi, and is a diverse team of over a dozen research staff from across the globe.