Amy Apprill, Ph.D.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Amy Apprill leads the Microbial Ecology for Ocean Conservation research laboratory at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her research examines the contribution of microorganisms to the health and ecology of sensitive animals and ecosystems of the ocean. Apprill’s laboratory group uses a combination of field measurements and observations and laboratory experiments and relies on diverse methodology (cultivation, genomics, metagenomics and bioinformatics) as well as collaborations with marine chemists to understand the microbial symbionts of marine mammals and corals and microbial dynamics within coral reef ecosystems. Examples of Apprill’s research include using drones to examine the upper respiratory microbiome of whales, founding a U.S.-Cuban collaborative study of microbial biodiversity on pristine Cuban coral reefs and developing field-based sequencing methods to speed up the study of coral disease pathogens. Her lab partners with communication professionals to convey this science to public audiences through documentaries and press releases. Apprill’s work on the Cuban coral reefs was featured in a Project Earth documentary by Fusion television, and her research on the humpback whale microbiome was highlighted in Science magazine’s ‘XX Files: Extraordinary Science, Extraordinary Women’ video series. Apprill received a B.A. from the University of San Diego and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Hawaii.