Travis Courtney 

biogeochemistry + ecology

About Me

I am a marine scientist working at the intersection between biogeochemistry and ecology to explore ecological and environmental drivers of coral reef scale calcification. I employ these tools across colony to whole-reef spatial scales and annual to decadal time scales to better understand coral reef growth responses to climate change and human impacts. Currently, I am an Oceanography PhD student in the SCOOBY research group at Scripps Institution of Oceanography with my free time spent surfing and exploring Southern and Baja California.


Under the current century of human-induced climate change and local impacts, how will coral reef growth and the ecosystem services coral reefs provide to humanity be impacted? 


Can we predict the future form and function of coral reefs under increasing seawater temperatures, decreasing seawater pH, and changing local impacts? 


My research integrates field measurements, publicly available data, and conceptual models to evaluate the growth and maintenance of coral reef structures in a changing world.



Courtney TA, De Carlo EH, Page, HN, Bahr KD, Barro A, Howins N, Tabata R, Terlouw G, Rodgers KS, Andersson A J. Recovery of reef-scale calcification following a bleaching event in Kāne'ohe Bay, Hawai'i. Limnology & Oceanography Letters 3:1-9.



Courtney TA, Lebrato M, Bates NR, Collins A, de Putron SJ, Garley R, Johnson, R, Molinero JC, Noyes TJ, Sabine CL, Andersson AJ. Environmental controls on modern scleractinian coral and reef-scale calcification. Science Advances, 3(11), p.e1701356.


Page HN, Courtney TA, Collins A, De Carlo EH, Andersson AJ. Net community metabolism and seawater carbonate chemistry scale non-intuitively with coral cover. Frontiers in Marine Science 4:161.



Courtney TA , Andersson AJ, Bates NB, Collins A, Cyronak T, de Putron SJ, Eyre BD, Garley R, Hochberg EJ, Johnson R, Musielewicz S, Noyes T, Sabine CL, Sutton AJ, Toncin J, Tribollet A. Comparing Chemistry and Census-based Estimates of Net Ecosystem Calcification on a Rim Reef in Bermuda. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:181. 


Baumann JH, Townsend JE, Courtney TA , Aichelman HE, Davies SW, Lima FP, Castillo KD. Temperature regimes Impact Coral Assemblages along Environmental Gradients on Lagoonal Reefs in Belize. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0162098. 


Aichelman HE, Townsend JE, Courtney TA , Baumann JH, Davies SW, Castillo KD. Heterotrophy mitigates the response of the temperate coral Oculina arbuscula to temperature stress. Ecology and Evolution 6(18): 6758-6769. 


Horvath KM, Castillo KD, Armstrong P, Westfield IT, Courtney T , Ries JB. Next-century ocean acidification and warming both reduce calcification rate, but only acidification alters skeletal morphology of reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea. Scientific Reports 6:29613. 



Courtney T, Ries JB. Impact of atmospheric pCO2, seawater temperature, and calcification rate on the δ18O and δ13C composition of echinoid calcite (Echinometra viridis). Chemical Geology 411: 228-239.



Courtney T, Ries JB, Westfield I. Predicted end of 21st century CO2-induced ocean acidification decreases calcification rates in the tropical urchin Echinometra viridis. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 440: 169-175.


Please click to visit my Google Scholar Page and contact me at for copies of any of the above publications.


Science Outreach


I currently volunteer with student-led SCOPE to guide pier and beach outreach tours at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Follow me on Twitter @tacourtne for updates on coral reef and climate science.


In the Media


Study of Bermuda Corals Finds Temperature Is Most Influential Factor on Coral Growth


Temperature rise, the boon and bane of coral-reef growth


Urchin isotope composition can shed light on past oceanographic conditions


All photos © Travis Courtney, Morgan Goodrich, Lark Starkey