I am an integrative marine eco-physiologist. I strive to understand how the immediate abiotic environment and biotic interactions drive organism phenotype, ecological patterning, and evolutionary processess through the interaction of symbiosis, genetics, and epigenetics.

I am dedicated to open, rigorous, and reproducible experiments and analyses.

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Department of Biological Sciences
University of Rhode Island
120 Flagg Road, Kingston RI 02881


Time Position Affiliation
2016-Present Assistant Professor University of Rhode Island, Department of Biological Sciences
2016 Research Associate University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fisheries Science
2014 - 16 NSF Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow University of Hawaiii, Manoa (UH), Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB)
2013 - 16 Assistant Researcher UH SOEST Young Investigator
2013 Postdoctoral Researcher Hawaii EPSCOR Ecological Genomics & Metabolomics HIMB


Date Position Affiliation
2012 PhD in Zoology University of Hawaii, Manoa
- Dissertation Resilience and acclimatization potential of reef corals under predicted climate change stressors
2008 MSc in Biology California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
- Thesis The effects of temperature fluctuations on coral physiology
2004 BSc University of Wisconsin, Superior (UWS)
- Dual Majors Biology and Broad Field Science


(= equal contribution)

Google Scholar Profile

  1. Wall CB, Ricci CA, Foulds GE, Mydlarz LD, Gates RD, Putnam HM (2018) The effects of environmental history and thermal stress on coral physiology and immunity. Marine Biology

  2. Quinlan ZA, Remple K, Fox MD, Silbiger NJ, Sevilla JK, Oliver TA, Putnam HM, Wegley Kelly L, Carlson CA, Donahue MJ and Nelson CE. (2018) Fluorescent organic exudates of corals and algae in tropical reefs are compositionally distinct and increase with nutrient enrichment. Limnology and Oceanography: Letters

  3. Gibbin E Krueger T, Putnam HM, Barrot K, Bodin J, Gates RD, A. Meibom A. (2018) Short-term thermal acclimation modifies the metabolic condition of the coral holobiont. Frontiers in Marine Science 5, 10 https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00010

  4. Torda G, Donelson JM, Aranda M, Barshis DJ, Bay L, Berumen M, Bourne DG, Cantin N, Foret S, Matz M, Miller D, Moya A, Putnam HM, Ravasi T, van Oppen MJH, Vega-Thurber R, Vidal-Dupiol J, Voosltra CR, Watson S-A, Whitelaw E, Willis B, Munday PL. (2017) Adaptive responses to climate change in corals. Nature Climate Change, 7(9), 627-636. ^Cover Article

  5. Qiu, H, Zelzion, E, Putnam, HM, Gates, RD, Wagner, NE, Adams, DK, & Bhattacharya, D (2017) Discovery of SCORs: Anciently derived, highly conserved gene-associated repeats in stony corals. Genomics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygeno.2017.06.003

  6. Putnam HM=, Barott, KL=, Ainsworth TD, Gates RD. (2017) The resilience and vulnerability of reef corals. Current Biology 27(11):R528-R540 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.047

  7. Putnam HM=, Adams DK=, Zelzion E, Wagner NE, Qiu H, Mass T, Falkowski PG, Gates RD and Bhattacharya D. (2017) Divergent evolutionary histories of DNA markers in a Hawaiian population of the coral Montipora capitata. PeerJ e3319 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3319

  8. Baghdasarian G, Osberg A, Mihora D, Putnam HM, Gates RD, and Edmunds PJ (2017) The effects of temperature and pCO2 on the population regulation of Symbiodinium spp. in a tropical reef coral. Biological Bulletin 232:123-139

  9. Sogin EM, Putnam HM, Nelson CE, Anderson P, and Gates RD. (2017) Correspondence of coral holobiont metabolome with symbiotic bacteria, archaea and Symbiodinium communities. Environmental Microbiology Reports 9(3):310-315. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12541

  10. Gallardo-Escarate C, Valenzuela-Muñoz V, Boltaña S, Nuñez-Acuña G, Valenzuela-Miranda D, Gonçalves AT, Détrée C, Tarifeño E, Farlora R; and Putnam HM (2017) The Caligus rogercresseyi miRNome: discovery and transcriptome profiling during the sea lice ontogeny. AgriGene 4:8-22. doi: 10.1016/j.aggene.2017.03.002.

  11. van Oppen MJH, Gates RD, Blackall LL, Cantin N, Chakravarti LJ, Chan WY, Cormick C, Crean A, Damjanovic K, Epstein H, Harrison PL, Jones TA, Miller M, Pears RJ, Peplow LM, Raftos DA, Schaffelke B, Stewart K, Torda G, Wachenfeld D Weeks AR, and Putnam HM (2017) Shifting paradigms in restoration of the world’s coral reefs. Global Change Biology. 23(9) 3437-3448. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13647

  12. Claar DC, Fabina NS, Putnam HM, Cunning R, Sogin E, Baum JK, and Gates RD. (2017) Embracing complexity in coral-algal symbioses. in Algae Symbioses edited by Grube, Seckbach, and Muggia

  13. Putnam HM, Davidson JM, & Gates RD (2016) Ocean acidification influences host DNA methylation and phenotypic plasticity in environmentally susceptible corals. Evolutionary Applications 9(9):1165-1178

  14. Bhattacharya D, Agrawal S, Aranda M, Baumgarten S, Belcaid M, Drake JL, Erwin D, Foret S, Gates RD, Gruber DF, Hanna B, Lesser MP, Levy O, Liew YJ, MacManes M, Mass T, Medina M, Mehr S, Meyer E, Price DC, Putnam HM, Qiu H, Shinzato C, Shoguchi E, Stokes AJ, Tambutté S, Tchernov D, Voolstra CR, Wagner N, Walker CW, Weber APM, Weiss V, Zelzion E, Zoccola D and Falkowski PG. (2016) Comparative genomics explains the evolutionary success of reef-forming corals. eLife, 5, e13288

  15. Mass T=, Putnam HM=, Drake JL=, Zelzion E, Gates RD, Bhattacharya D, and Falkowski PG. Temporal and spatial expression pattern of biomineralization proteins during early development in the stony coral Pocillopora damicornis. (2016) Proceedings of the Royal Society B 20160322 http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.0322

  16. Boulotte NM, Dalton SJ, Carroll AG, Harrison PL, Putnam HM, Peplow LM, van Oppen MJH. (2016) Exploring the Symbiodinium rare biosphere provides evidence for symbiont switching in reef-building corals. ISMEJ doi: 10.1038/ismej.2016.54 OPEN ACCESS

  17. Madin JS, Connolly SR, Darling E, Falster D, Hoogenboom MO, Huang D, Keith SA, Mizerek T, Pandolfi JM, Putnam HM, and Baird AH. (2016) A trait based approach to advance coral reef science. Trends in ecology & evolution, 31(6), 419-428.

  18. Madin JS, Anderson KD, Andreasen MH, Bridge TCL, Cairns SD, Connolly SR, Darling E, Diaz M, Falster D, Franklin EC, Gates RD, Hoogenboom MO, Huang D, Keith SA, Kosnik MA, Kuo C-Y, Lough JM, Lovelock CE, Luiz O, Martinelli J, Mizerek T, Pandolfi JM, Pochon X, Pratchett MS, Putnam HM, Roberts TE, Stat M, Wallace CC, Widman E, and Baird AH. (2016) The Coral Trait Database. Nature Scientific Data 3: 160017

  19. Sogin EM, Putnam HM, Anderson PE, and Gates RD. Metabolomic signatures of increases in temperature and ocean acidification from the reef-building coral, Pocillopora damicornis. (2016) Metabolomics 12:71

  20. Cunning R, Yost D, Guarinello M, Putnam HM, and Gates RD. (2015) Variability of Symbiodinium communities in waters, sediments, and corals of thermally distinct reef pools in American Samoa. Plos ONE 10(12): e0145099

  21. Putnam HM and Gates RD. (2015) Preconditioning in the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis and the potential for trans-generational acclimatization in coral larvae under future climate change conditions. Journal of Experimental Biology 218:2365-2372 ^Featured “Inside JEB”, NSF Science360 Top Story, Natural History Magazine, and in the Washington Post

  22. van Oppen MJ, Oliver J, Putnam HM, and RD Gates. (2015) Building coral reef resilience through assisted evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(8), 2307-2313 ^Cover Article

  23. Gibbin EM, Putnam HM, Gates RD, Nitschke MR, and Davy SK. (2015) Species-specific susceptibility to ocean acidification and cellular acidosis in reef corals is influenced by thermal sensitivity. Marine Biology 10.1007/s00227-015-2617-9

  24. Edmunds PJ, Adjeroud M, Baskett M, Baum J, Baums I., Budd A, Carpenter RC, Fabina N, Fan T-Y, Franklin E, Gross K, Han S, Jacobson L, McClanahan T, O’Leary J, van Oppen, MJH, Pochon X, Putnam HM, Smith TB, Stat M, Sweatman H, van Woesik R, and Gates RD. (2014) Persistence and change in community composition of reef corals through present, past and future climates. Plos One 9(10): e107525. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107525 ^NCEAS working group product

  25. Edmunds PJ, Burgess S, Putnam HM, Baskett ML, Bramanti L, Fabina NS, Han X, Lesser MP, Madin JS, Wall CB, Yost DM, and Gates RD. (2014) Evaluating the causal basis of ecological success within the Scleractinia: An integral projection model approach. Marine Biology DOI 10.1007/s00227-014-2547-y ^NCEAS working group product

  26. Comeau S, Carpenter RC, Nojiri Y, Putnam HM, Sakai K, and Edmunds PJ. (2014) Pacific-wide contrast highlights resistance of reef calcifiers to ocean acidification. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281(1790) 20141339

  27. Edmunds PJ, Pochon X, Levitan DR, Yost DM, Belcaid M, Putnam HM, and Gates RD. (2014) Long-term changes in Symbiodinium communities in Orbicella annularis in St. John, United States Virgin Islands. Marine Ecology Progress Series 506:129-144

  28. Pochon X, Putnam HM, Gates RD. (2014) Multi-gene analysis of Symbiodinium dinoflagellates: a perspective on rarity, symbiosis, and evolution. PeerJ 2:e394. http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.394 ^Selected as one of the top 10 most noteworthy coral articles by editors and Top Marine Biology Papers – September 2015 Collection

  29. Gibbin EM, Putnam HM, Davy SK, and Gates RD. (2014) Intracellular pH and its response to CO2-driven seawater acidification in symbiotic versus non-symbiotic coral cells. Journal of Experimental Biology. 217: 1963-1969 doi: 10.1242/jeb.099549

  30. Fabina NS, Putnam HM, Franklin EC, Stat M, and Gates RD. (2013) Symbiotic specificity, association patterns, and function determine community responses to global changes: Defining critical research areas for coral-Symbiodinium symbioses. Global Change Biology 19:3306-3316

  31. Putnam HM, Mayfield AB, Fan TY, Chen CS, and Gates RD. (2013) The physiological and molecular responses of larvae from the reef-building coral Pocillopora damicornis exposed to near-future increases in temperature and pCO2. Marine Biology 160:2157-2173

  32. Mayfield AB, Chan PH, Putnam HM, Chen CS, and Fan TY. (2013) The effects of a variable temperature regime on the physiology of the reef-building coral Seriatopora hystrix: results from a laboratory-based reciprocal transplant. Journal of Experimental Biology 215:4183-4195

  33. Edmunds PJ, Putnam HM, and Gates RD. (2012) Photophysiological consequences of vertical stratification of Symbiodinium in the tissue of the coral Porites lutea. Biological Bulletin 223:226-235

  34. Putnam HM, Stat M, Pochon X, and Gates RD. (2012) Endosymbiotic flexibility associates with environmental sensitivity in scleractinian corals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279:4352-4361 ^Highlighted as an NSF Discoveries Article

  35. Fabina NS, Putnam HM, Franklin EC, Stat M, and Gates RD. (2012) Transmission mode predicts specificity and interaction patterns in coral-Symbiodinium communities. Plos ONE 7(9):e44970

  36. Pochon X, Putnam HM, Burki F, and Gates RD. (2012) Identifying and characterizing alternative molecular markers for the symbiotic and free-living dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium. PLoS ONE 7(1):e29816

  37. Franklin EC, Stat M, Pochon X, Putnam HM, and Gates RD. (2012) GeoSymbio: A hybrid, cloud-based web application of global geospatial bioinformatics and ecoinformatics for Symbiodinium-host symbioses. Molecular Ecology Resources 12:369-373

  38. Franklin EC, Stat M, Pochon X, Putnam HM, and Gates RD. (2011) Rapid development of a hybrid web application for synthesis science of Symbiodinium with Google apps. in Jones, M. (ed.), Peer Reviewed Proceedings of the Environ. Info. Manage. Conf.

  39. Edmunds PJ, Putnam HM, Nisbet RM, and Muller EB. (2011) Benchmarks in organism performance and their use in comparative analyses. Oecologia 167:379-390

  40. Putnam HM, and Edmunds PJ. (2011) The physiological response of reef corals to diel fluctuations in seawater temperature. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 396:216-223

  41. Putnam HM, Edmunds PJ, and Fan TY. (2010) Effect of a fluctuating thermal regime on adult and larval reef corals. Invertebrate Biology 129:199-209

  42. Putnam HM and Edmunds PJ. (2009) Responses of coral hosts and their algal symbionts to thermal heterogeneity. Peer Reviewed Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, July 2008:393-397

  43. Putnam HM, Edmunds PJ, and Fan TY. (2008) Effect of temperature on the settlement choice and photophysiology of larvae from the reef coral Stylophora pistillata. Biological Bulletin 215:135-142



2017 NSF Collaborative Research: Cascading effects of predators on coral resilience (Putnam, Stier, Moeller, Schmitt, $262,804 to Putnam)

2017 NSF Elucidating adaptive potential through coral holobiont functional integration (Putnam, Bhattacharya, Harel, $489,079 to Putnam, $1,100,391 total)


2018-2021 Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR): Development of environmental conditioning practices to decrease impacts of climate change on shellfish aquaculture (Putnam with Roberts and Vadopalas $223,290 to Putnam, $834,699 total)

2018-2021 Pembroke Foundation International LTD. How Resilient are Coral Reefs to Global Climate Change? (PIs Putnam, Goodbody-Gringley, de Putron $232,865 to Putnam, $737,635 total)

2017-2021 US Israel Binational Science Foundation Function of Acid-Rich Proteins in Coral Biomineralization across Diverse Climates (PIs Putnam and Mass, $110,000 to Putnam, $220,000 total)

2017-2018 University of Rhode Island Council for Research Proposal Development Grant Building genomic resources for examining the role of DNA methylation in coral acclimatization (PI Putnam, $14,019)

2017 - 2020 French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Partner University Fund (PUF) Exploring how coral reproduction may cope with 21st century (co-author and Senior Personnel Putnam)

2017 The Aquaculture Genome Co-Coordinators of USDA-NIFA National Research Support Project 8 (NRSP8) Evaluating the genetic potential for environmental adaptation in eastern oysters through re-sequencing (Gomez-Chiarri, Proestou, Putnam, EOGC, $10,000)

2016-22 National Science Foundation, LTER Proposal Renewal, LTER: MCR III: Long-Term Dynamics of a Coral Reef Ecosystem (Associate Investigator)

2016 WHOI Ocean Life Institute Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship (Declined award)

2015-2020 Paul Allen Foundation, Building a Biological Toolkit to Mitigate Ocean Acidification Impacts and Restore Coral Reefs. (PI Gates and van Oppen $3.9 million, co-author and Senior Personnel Putnam)

2014-2016 NSF Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship, Quantifying the genetic and epigenetic contribution to stress response in corals ($170,000, PI Putnam)

2014-2015 NSF EPSCoR Hawaii, A multi-scale analysis of function in Hawaiian corals contextualized by climate change, phase 2: Genetic, epigenetic and metabolic contributions to stress response in corals (PI Gates $130,895, Co-author and lead researcher Putnam)

2013 UH SOEST Young Investigator Fellowship ($126,000, PI Putnam)

2012 - 2010 US Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship ($112,828, PI Putnam)

2012 Lerner Gray Fund for Marine Research ($1,500)

2012 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists – ARCS Foundation ($5,000)

2012 UH College of Arts & Sciences Student Research Award ($2,900)

2011 UH Charles and Margaret Edmondson Research Fund Grant ($1,925)

2010 Steven Berkeley Marine Conservation Fellowship Honorable Mention ($1,000)

2008 International Society for Reef Studies/Ocean Conservancy Fellowship ($14,150)

2008 California Pre-Doctoral Summer Research Program ($9,320)

2007 NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute Fellowship ($4,579)

2007 CSUN Associated Students Thesis Funding ($1,000)

2006 CSUN Graduate Studies Thesis Support Grant ($700)

2005 CSUN The University Corporation Student Projects Grant ($1,500)

2004, 2003 UWS Undergraduate Research Foundation Fellowship ($500)

2003 NSF/Sea Grant Marine Science Undergraduate Research Fellowship ($4,500)