Kathryn Lesneski

Kathryn Lesneski


Originally from Concord Massachusetts, Katey graduated from Brown University in 2012 with a BS in Geo-Biology. She always had a passion for conducting science that produces tangible outcomes to support knowledge that communities have of the state of their resources, ranging from the biodiversity of reefs in Tobago, to the management of commercially viable species in Turks and Caicos, and even the heavy metals present in the sediments of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Katey is now a Marine Biology PhD Candidate at Boston University, where she is studying the traits that contribute to heat stress (bleaching) resistance and wound healing ability in staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis). This endangered yet historically important Caribbean coral is now the focus of many active reef restoration projects, and Katey’s work will help advance science that can inform decisions related to such restoration efforts. Most of her research is based in Belize, where she is also a Teaching Fellow for undergraduate field-based courses. Her research will help to support work conducted at Turneffe Atoll in Belize by Fragments of Hope, a non-profit coral restoration organization. When not in the field collecting samples to study coral physiology, or in the lab researching gene expression profiles from the same corals, she is leading several side projects through Boston University. These projects include spatial patterning studies of a coral fish and a sponge, and the effects of overfishing on the three-dimensional morphology of the Queen Conch. She and her research partner/labmate are also the early stages of developing a mobile app to connect fisherpeople and scientists to help solve specific regional problems. This idea blossomed after meeting members of the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association and local fishermen in Belize and initiating a research project concerning a parasitic isopod affecting local lobster catches. After completing her PhD, she hopes to initiate community-based reef restoration projects in the Caribbean. In her free time (and when the weather is just right) she enjoys utilizing her skills as a PADI Divemaster, paddleboarding, and skiing.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
Boston University, PhD
Current Position:
Ph.D candidate
Coastal & Marine Issues
Conservation Science & Biology
Environmental Education

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