Drs. Mark Warner and Jeremy Firestone recently joined the faculty of the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies (CMS) as assistant professors in the Marine Biology-Biochemistry and the Marine Policy programs, respectively.
Dr. Mark Warner is a marine biologist who specializes in reef-building corals and how they interact with their environment. More specifically, his research focuses on the relationship between certain algae — dinoflagellates — and reef-building corals. Dinoflagellates live in the tissue of most of these corals and are able to grow by using the process of photosynthesis to convert sunlight into food. During photosynthesis, products such as simple sugars and carbon are formed, which the corals then use as energy.
“Recently, events have occurred where millions of these algae are expelled from the coral reefs when seawater temperatures rise above 30°C,” says Warner. “My research uses molecular and biochemical techniques to investigate the formation and stability of proteins that are involved in photosynthesis and how these proteins are affected during times of environmental stress, such as elevated temperatures.”
Warner earned his doctorate in ecology and a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Georgia, where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship prior to joining CMS. In addition to his research, Warner will teach graduate courses in coral reef biology and the physiological ecology of algae.
“I look forward to working at CMS — the college has a wonderful reputation and gives its faculty the academic freedom to pursue research in many different areas,” says Warner. “In addition, I will be able to apply my research on algae in coral reef environments to issues that are directly related to Delaware’s Inland Bays, such as harmful algal blooms.”
Dr. Jeremy Firestone, a specialist in ocean and coastal zone law and policy, brings a background in both the social and natural sciences to the Marine Policy Program. His interests range from examining the tension between private rights and public responsibilities in coastal land use to analyzing policies related to land-based marine pollution to considering the effectiveness of international institutions in resolving scientific disputes.
He currently is working with Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, director of the Center for the Study of Marine Policy, who is leading the effort to develop a policy framework for marine aquaculture in federal offshore waters. Firestone’s role will focus on the permitting process and developing guidelines for various federal and state agencies with interests in aquaculture. Firestone also will teach courses that address the legal aspects of the U.S. coastal zone and international ocean policy.
“I am very excited to be at CMS because I will have the opportunity to work with both social and natural scientists on both domestic and international issues that affect the ocean and coastal zone,” says Firestone. “I also look forward to providing education and service to the community through the University’s Sea Grant College Program.”
Firestone earned his doctorate in public policy analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology for the University of Michigan. Prior to joining CMS, he held academic appointments at Duke University Law School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has worked extensively for numerous economic and environmental agencies.