2020 applicants

Bethan Greenwood

Graduate Laboratory Assistant
School of Life Sciences
Postgraduate Research Student
School of Life Sciences
 Bethan Greenwood



I am a PhD researcher at the University of Essex, where my current research centres around the adaptive capacity of coral holobionts, particularly their microbiomes. Prior to this, Ive worked alongside artisanal fishermen in the marine conservation sector in Madagascar, and have worked as a lab technician and aquarist at Royal Holloway University of London.


  • MSc Tropical Marine Biology University of Essex (2016)

  • BSc Marine Biology University of Plymouth (2013)

Research and professional activities


Corals at the extreme: partitioning the response of coral holobionts to marginal habitats

Understanding how corals survive stressful conditions has never been more important given the number of people relying on reefs and the increasing threat of mass-bleaching events. Corals are meta-organisms comprising cnidarian host, endosymbiotic algae and a diverse microbiome, known collectively as the ‘holobiont’. The role of the microbiome and how changes in holobiont composition interact with environmental change to affect survival remain unclear. My research aims to determine the relative contribution of the microbial symbionts to the functioning and ecological success of corals living in already extreme conditions (relative to typical reefs), such as the high temperature fluctuations and low pH conditions of mangroves.

Supervisor: Prof. David Smith , Dr Boyd McKew , Dr Etienne Low-Decarie

Research interests

The coral holobiont




Colchester Campus