Research Areas

1.  Life history theory. Parental and latent effects. The evolution of mutualisms.

Parents pass on more than just genes. In marine invertebrates and many other animals, parents give their offspring a diverse suite of molecules and microbes, all of which may (or may not) help these offspring wherever they end up living out their adult lives. I examine how and why tropical corals produce offspring that vary in size, energy content, and symbiotic algal partnerships. I am interested in the interaction among characters as larvae experience different environments (e.g., high light and temperature) and progress through different stages of life (planktonic larvae, benthic larvae, metamorphosed settler). Answering these questions helps us better understand how species disperse and succeed across a range of environments and community assemblages.

Published work in this track includes:

  • A.C. Hartmann, K.L. Marhaver, M.J.A. Vermeij (2018) Corals in healthy populations produce more larvae per unit cover. Conservation Letters 11, 1-12.* PDF

  • A.C. Hartmann, A.H. Baird, N. Knowlton, D. Huang. (2017) The paradox of environmental symbiont acquisition in obligate mutualisms. Current Biology 27, 1-6. PDF

  • **V.F. Chamberland, K. Latijnhouwers, J. Huisman, A.C. Hartmann, M.J.A. Vermeij (2017) Costs and benefits of maternal provisioning of algal symbionts to coral larvae. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284, 20170852. PDF

  • A.C. Hartmann, S.A. Sandin, V.F. Chamberland, K.L. Marhaver, J.M. de Goeij, & M.J.A. Vermeij (2015) Crude oil contamination interrupts settlement of coral larvae after direct exposure ends. Marine Ecology Progress Series 536: 163-173.* PDF

  • A.C. Hartmann, K.L. Marhaver, V.F. Chamberland, S.A. Sandin, M.J.A. Vermeij (2013) Large birth size does not reduce the negative latent effects of harsh environmental conditions across early life stages in two coral species. Ecology 94(9): 1966-1976. PDF

 A settled  Agaricia humilis  in visible light (left) and fluorescence (right). The coral is green due to green fluorescent protein contained in its tissues.

A settled Agaricia humilis in visible light (left) and fluorescence (right). The coral is green due to green fluorescent protein contained in its tissues.


2.  Human impacts on coastal marine ecosystems. Conservation biology.

Human impacts on the marine environment are growing, species are being lost, and ecosystems are being altered. I am interested in the ways that human impacts such as oil spills and rising temperatures influence the early life stages of corals--from the number and size of offspring parents produce to the ability of these offspring to settle on the seafloor after swimming through the water column. My research attempts to ask questions that are both fundamental as well as applicable to marine conservation efforts such as: What are the lasting effects after oil spill clean-ups? Do corals on intact (healthy) reefs produce more offspring? This information helps us better understand these complex animals and generates data useful to management decisions, such as where to cite marine parks and where to limit shoreline development.

Published work from this research track includes:

  • A.C. Hartmann, K.L. Marhaver, M.J.A. Vermeij (2018) Corals in healthy populations produce more larvae per unit cover. Conservation Letters 11, 1-12.* PDF

  • J.E. Carilli, A.C. Hartmann, J.M. Pandolfi, K. Cobb, H. Sayani, S.F. Heron, R. Dunbar, S.A. Sandin (2017) Porites coral response to heat stress across an oceanographic and human impact gradient in the Line Islands. Limnology and Oceanography 62, 2850-2863. PDF

  • A.C. Hartmann, S.A. Sandin, V.F. Chamberland, K.L. Marhaver, J.M. de Goeij, & M.J.A. Vermeij (2015) Crude oil contamination interrupts settlement of coral larvae after direct exposure ends. Marine Ecology Progress Series 536: 163-173.* PDF

  • A.C. Hartmann & L.A. Levin (2012) Conservation concerns in the deep. Science 336: 668. PDF

  • J.E. Carilli, S.D. Donner, & A.C. Hartmann (2012) Historical temperature variability affects coral response to heat stress. PLOS ONE7(3): e34418. PDF

  • A.C. Hartmann, J.E. Carilli, R.D. Norris, C. Charles, & D.D. Deheyn (2010) Stable isotopic records of bleaching and endolithic algae blooms in the skeleton of the boulder forming coral Montastraea faveolata. Coral Reefs 29:1079-1089. PDF

  • S. Han, P. Narasingarao, A. Obraztsova, J. Gieskes, A.C. Hartmann, B.M. Tebo, E.E. Allen, & D.D. Deheyn (2010) Mercury Speciation in Marine Sediments under Sulfate-Limited Conditions. Environmental Science and Technology 44: 3752-3757. PDF

  • G.K. Druschel, A.C. Hartmann, R. Lomonaco, & K. Oldrid (2005) Determination of sediment phosphorus concentrations in St. Albans Bay, Lake Champlain: Assessment of internal loading and seasonal variations of phosphorus sediment-water column cycling. Report to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (71 pp.). PDF


3. Metabolomic diversity. Small molecule modifications.

Small molecules, which include many secondary metabolites and natural products, play important roles in physiological processes across Life. Perhaps surprisingly, we know very little about what most small molecules are and what they do, even in our own bodies. In my work I have developed a method to gain large amounts of information from complex mixtures of small molecules, even when we don't know what the molecules are or what they do. Using molecular networking, and machine learning, I have developed a tool to identify potential reactions occurring among molecules, the first step in determining biological activity. While this approach can have a wide range of applications, I'm currently using it to better understand patterns of small molecule diversification in coral reef communities throughout the Pacific Ocean, with a focus on the Coral Triangle in southeast Asia. This area is arguably the most biodiverse location on the planet, yet little is known about small molecule diversity and the variation in biological function that may have arisen alongside species diversification.

Published work from this research track includes:

  • **Galtier d’Auriac, Ines, Robert A. Quinn, Heather Maughan, Louis-Felix Nothias, Steven D. Quistad, Clifford A. Kapono, Jennifer E. Smith, Matthieu Leray, Pieter C. Dorrestein, Forest L. Rohwer, Dimitri D. Deheyn, Aaron C. Hartmann (2018) Before platelets: the production of platelet activating factor during growth and stress in a basal marine organism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285, 20181307. PDF

  • A.C. Hartmann, D. Petras, R.A. Quinn, I. Protsyuk, F.I. Archer, E. Ransome, G.J. Williams, B.A. Bailey, M.J.A. Vermeij, T. Alexandrov, P.C. Dorrestein, F.L. Rohwer (2017) Meta-mass shift chemical (MeMSChem) profiling of metabolomes from coral reefs. Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences 114, 11685–11690. (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710248114) PDF

  • R.A. Quinn, M.J.A. Vermeij, A.C. Hartmann, I. Galtier d’Auriac, S. Benler, A. Haas, S.D. Quistad, Y-W Lim, M. Little, S.A. Sandin, J.E. Smith, P. Dorrestein, F.L. Rohwer (2016) Metabolomics of reef benthic interactions reveals a bioactive lipid involved in coral defense Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283 (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0469) PDF

 Coral reefs produce a wide diversity of small molecules that are involved in primary and secondary metabolism. This picture r

Coral reefs produce a wide diversity of small molecules that are involved in primary and secondary metabolism. This picture r

*This paper is represented in two tracks

**Student lead author