Educational BackgroundPh. D., University of Maine, Zoology, 1989M.S., University of New Hampshire, Microbiology, 1985B.A., University of New Hampshire, Microbiology, Minor: Zoology, 1983 A.S. George Washington University, Medical Laboratory Science, 1977Courses Taught Biological Oceanography, Physiological Ecology, Marine Biology, Marine Microbiology, General Microbiology, Immunology, Biology and Ecology of Coral ReefsCurrent Research InterestsMy principal focus involve understanding how taxonomically diverse marine organisms respond physiologically to changes in their environment. In particular I'm interested in how organismal physiology can influence the ecology of marine organisms. As a physiological ecologist my students and I answer these types of questions by utilizing field and laboratory experiments, as well as a wide range of techniques from molecular biology to in situ measurements. Currently my research encompasses four major areas;1) Biochemistry and molecular genetics of oxidative stress in marine organisms associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation, elevated temperatures, or hyperoxic conditions. 2) Physiological ecology of marine invertebrates and phytoplankton, physiological responses to changes in the environment, bacterial- and algal-invertebrate symbioses, and the trophic biology of suspension-feeding invertebrates.3) Ecology and photobiology of mesophotic coral reefs.4) Underwater technology, use of technical diving for scientific research. Selected PublicationsLesser MP. Using Energetic Budgets to Assess the Effects of Environmental Stress on Corals: Are We Measuring the Right Things? Coral Reefs, 32: 25-33, 2013. Brazeau, D., M. P. Lesser, and M. Slattery. Genome-wide Sampling of Genetic Structure in the Coral, Montastraea cavernosa: Assessing Population Connectivity Among Mesophotic Reefs. PLoS ONE, 8(5): e65845, 2013.Lesser, M. P., Stat, M., and R. D. Gates. The Endosymbiotic Dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium sp.) of Corals Are Parasites and Mutualists. Coral Reefs, 32: 603-611, 2013.Fiore, C. L., Baker, D. M., and M. P. Lesser. Nitrogen Biogeochemistry in the Caribbean Sponge, Xestospongia muta: A Source or Sink of Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen? PLoS ONE, 8: e72961, 2013.Fiore, C. L., Jarett, J. K., Labrie, M. S., and M. P. Lesser. Symbiotic Prokaryotic Communities from Different populations of the Giant Barrel Sponge, Xestospongia muta. MicrobiologyOpen, doi: 10.1002/mbo3.135, 2013.Olson, N. and M. P. Lesser. Diversity of Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria Associated with Different Color Colonies of the Coral, Montastraea cavernosa. Archives of Microbiology, doi: 10.1007/s00203-013-0937-z, 2013.Lesser, M. P. and M. Slattery. Ecology of Caribbean Sponges: Are Top-down or Bottom-up Processes More Important? PLoS ONE, 8: e79799, 2013.Lesser, M. P., Carleton, K. L., Boettger, S. A., Barry, T. M. and C. W. Walker. Sea Urchin Tube Feet are Photosensory Organs that Express a Rhabdomeric-like opsin and PAX6. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.0336, 2011.Lesser, M. P., and M. Slattery. Invasive Lionfish Causes a Phase Shift to Algal Dominated Communities at Mesophotic Depths on a Bahamian Coral Reef. Biological Invasions, 13: 1855-1868, 2011.Lesser, M. P. Coral Bleaching: Causes and Mechanisms. In: Coral Reefs: An Ecosystem in Transition, Dubinsky, Z. and N. Stambler (eds.), Springer, pp. 405-420, 2011.Fiore, C. L., Jarett, J. K., Olson, N. D., and M. P. Lesser. Nitrogen Fixation and Nitrogen Transformations in Marine Symbioses. Trends in Microbiology, 18: 455-463, 2010.Lesser, M. P., M. Bailey, D. Merselis, and J. R. Morrison. Physiological response of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis to differences in food and temperature in the Gulf of Maine. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, 156: 541-551, 2010.Lesser, M. P., M. Slattery, M. Stat, M. Ojimi, R. Gates, and A. Grottoli. Photoacclimatization by the Coral Montastraea cavernosa in the Mesophotic Zone: Light, Food, and Genetics. Ecology, 91: 990-1003, 2010.Banaszak, A. T. and M. P. Lesser. Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation on Coral Reef Organisms. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, 8: 1276-1294, 2009.Lesser, M. P. Slattery, M., and J. J. Leichter. Ecology of Mesophotic Coral Reefs. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 375: 1-8, 2009.Blakeslee, A. M. H., Byers, J. E., and M. P. Lesser. Resolving cryptogenic histories using host and parasite molecular genetics. Molecular Ecology, 17: 3684-3696, 2008.Lesser, M. P. Coral Reefs Bleaching and Global Climate Change: Can Corals Survive the Next Century? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104: 5259-5260, 2007.Bou-Abdallah, F., Chasteen, N. D., and M. P. Lesser. Quenching of Superoxide Radicals by Green Fluorescent Protein. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (General Subjects) 1760:1690-1695, 2006.Lesser, M. P. Oxidative Stress in Marine Environments: Biochemistry and Physiological Ecology. Annual Reviews of Physiology, 68: 253-278, 2006.Lesser, M. P., Mazel, C. M., Gorbunov, M. Y., and P. G. Falkowski. Discovery of Symbiotic Nitrogen-Fixing Cyanobacteria in Corals. Science, 305: 997-1000, 2004.Lesser, M. P. Experimental Coral Reef Biology. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 300: 217-252, 2004. Lesser, M. P. Exposure of Symbiotic Dinoflagellates To Elevated Temperatures and Ultraviolet Radiation Causes Oxidative Stress and Inhibits Photosynthesis. Limnology and Oceanography, 41: 271-283, 1996.Cullen, J. J, P. J. Neale, and M. P. Lesser. Biological Weighting Function for the Inhibition of Phytoplankton Photosynthesis by Ultraviolet Radiation. Science, 258:646-650, 1992.