Jacqueline Padilla-Gamiño

  • Assistant Professor, SAFS

Research areas

We study the ecophysiology and reproductive biology of marine organisms in a changing environment. By combining field and laboratory techniques, we examine the importance of transgenerational effects in acclimatization and local adaptation and investigate the synergistic effects of multiple stressors on coastal ecosystems.

The physiology of global climate change: impacts of ocean warming and acidification
Global change is a multi-dimensional problem that can affect organisms at many levels of biological organization and at multiple life-history stages. In order to better predict how environmental change will affect marine communities, it is critical that we understand the interactive effects of multiple global change variables on physiological function. We are currently studying how temperature and ocean acidification can affect the physiology of keystone species (invertebrates and algae) through different life stages.

Biology, reproduction and ecophysiology of corals
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. To date, little is known about the mechanisms corals use to tolerate and successfully reproduce in stressful environments and how, in turn, parental physiology influences their offspring’s survivability and performance. These are fundamental questions that have important implications for the persistence of coral populations, reef resilience and the effective management of marine ecosystems. Current projects focus on exploring gene expression in corals during and after a spawning event, the ecophysiology and reproductive biology of corals located in the mesophotic zone (67-125m depth) and how parental effects can influence the development, settlement and survival of coral offspring.

Eutrophication on coastal ecosystems
Increasing terrestrial runoff due to anthropogenic activities has become a major problem for marine ecosystems. Poor water quality has been shown to negatively affect reproduction in some species. As global change intensifies and water quality deteriorates in coastal zones around the world, it is imperative that we understand and measure the capacity of organisms to recover, acclimatize and/or adapt to environments under stressful conditions. Soon, we hope to begin studying the synergistic effects of terrestrial runoff and temperature on marine coastal organisms.

The future of seafood
Climate change represents an increasing threat to the aquaculture industry. Among these threats is whether currently farmed species will possess the capacity to adapt or acclimatize to global climate change and remain profitable in the future. Understanding how cultured aquatic animals will be able to alter their physiology over both short and long-term scales (multiple generations) can help to identify species and genotypes more resistant to climate change and is one of the top priorities in aquaculture research. We have established a partnership with Catalina Sea Ranch to determine the relative contribution of acclimatization, maternal and genetic effects in growth and survival of juvenile mussels. Outcomes of this research can be used by mussel growers to design genetic improvement programs that can provide an important step in addressing the challenges of climate change in this important industry.


  • FISH 250:  Marine Biology
  • FISH 497:  Special Topics: Tropical Marine Science


  • Reproductive Biology
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Marine Invertebrates
  • Photophysiology
  • Tropical Marine Biology

Selected publications

  • Padilla-Gamiño JL, Gaitan-Espitia JD, Kelly MW, Hofmann GE (In press) Physiological plasticity and local adaptation to ocean acidification in a calcareous algae: An ontogenic and geographic approach. Invited for special issue in Evolutionary Applications.

  • Kelly MW, Padilla-Gamiño JL, Hofmann GE (2015) Ocean acidification affects body size, but not gene expression in larvae of the California mussel (Mytilus californianus). ICES Journal of Marine Science doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsv184

  • Ainsworth TD, Krause L, Bridge T, Torda G, Raina JB, Zakrzewski M, Gates RD, Padilla-Gamiño JL, Spalding HL, Smith C, Woolsey ES, Bourne DG, Bongaerts P, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Leggat W (2015) The coral core microbiome identifies rare bacterial taxa as ubiquitous endosymbionts. ISME Journal 9:2261-2274.

  • Roth M, Padilla-Gamiño JL, Pochon X, Spalding H, Smith C, Bidigare R, Gates RD (2015) Fluorescent protein expression in mesophotic reef-building corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 521:63-79.

  • Gaitán-Espitia JD, Hancock JR, Padilla-Gamiño JL, Rivest EB, Blanchette CA, Reed DC, Hofmann GE (2014) Interactive effects of elevated temperature and pCO2 on early-life history stages of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology 457:51-58.

  • Padilla-Gamiño JL, Hédouin L, Waller RG, Smith D, Truong W & Gates RD (2014) Sedimentation and reproductive biology of the Hawaiian reef building coral Montipora capitata. Biological Bulletin 226:8-18.

  • Kelly MW*, Padilla-Gamiño JL* & Hofmann GE (2013) Natural variation, and the capacity to adapt to ocean acidification in the keystone sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Global Change Biology 19(8):2536-2546 [*Authors contributed equally to this work]