Cynthia L. Hunter

Associate Professor, Biology

Director, Marine Option Program

Coral Reef Ecology and Conservation




Dean 108/108 A




Hunter Lab

Research Interests

My research focuses on fundamental questions in coral reef ecology within the larger context of conservation ecology. Broadly, I am interested in contributing to a better understanding of how coral reef ecosystems function and sustain themselves, particularly within the context of natural and anthropogenic stressors. More specifically, I am interested in forces that affect the biodiversity of coral reef species, and how this diversity may be influenced through time, space and under various physical and anthropogenic regimes.

Most recently, research in my lab has explored and determined ways to inform and improve management of coral reef resources: characterization of genetic diversity and propagation potential of corals for reef restoration and research, and development of methods and management strategies to control alien algae and restore coral reefs degraded by algal invasions. A recent aspect of this work involves student-led surveys of the distribution and abundance of two NOAA Species of Concern (Montipora dilatata and Lingula reevii) as part of BIOL 403-Field Problems in Marine Biology.

Selected Publications

Forsman, Z.H., B.K. Kimokeo, C.E. Bird, C.L. Hunter, and R.J. Toonen. 2012. Coral farming: effects of light, water motion, and artificial foods. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. UK 92(4): 721-729.

Smith, J.E., C.L. Hunter, and C.M. Smith. 2010. The effects of top-down versus bottom-up control on benthic coral reef community structure. Oecologia 163(2):497-507.

Forsman, Z.H., D. Barshis, and C.L. Hunter. 2009. Shape-shifting corals: Molecular markers show morphology is evolutionarily plastic in Porites. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9:45-54

C.L. Hunter, E. Krauss, J. Fitzpatrick, and J. Kennedy. 2008. Current and historic distribution and abundance of the inarticulated brachiopod, Lingula reevei Davidson (1880), in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Marine Biology 155(2): 205-210.