Franziska Elmer, Ph.D.


Lecturer in Tropical Marine Ecology


Turks & Caicos Islands


Ph.D. in Marine Biology
Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)

MSc in Ecology and Evolution
ETH Zurich (Switzerland)

BSc in Environmental Sciences
ETH Zurich (Switzerland)


SFS 3730 Tropical Marine Ecology
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 3530 Tropical Marine Ecosystems: Monitoring and Management
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 3131 Marine Megafauna Ecology and Conservation
(The School for Field Studies)

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Faculty Profile

I completed my B.Sc and M.Sc. in Environmental Science and Ecology and Evolution at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. During my studies, I spent 6 months in St. Eustatius and 1 year in Dania Beach, Florida for internships and my thesis studying coral reefs. After my M.Sc., I spent a semester as a teaching and research intern at the CIEE research station in Bonaire before starting my Ph.D. on coral recruitment and calcium carbonate budgets at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. My Ph.D. fieldwork brought me to the remote atoll of Palmyra and to Hawaii. After my Ph.D., I returned to the CIEE research station as a professor of Coral Reef Ecology. During this time, I continued researching coral recruitment with the aid of 3D modelling. I also investigated the distribution of reef fish infected by the dermal parasite Scaphalocephanus expansus.

Academics & Research

Areas of Expertise

  • Coral recruitment
  • Calcium carbonate budgets
  • 3D reef modeling
  • Fish parasites
  • Quantitative modeling

Professional Affiliations

  • Treasurer, Association for Marine Laboratories in the Caribbean (2017-present)
  • Member, Society for Conservation Biology (2014-present)


Elmer F., Bell J. J., Gardner J.P.A. (2018). Coral larvae change their settlement preference for crustose coralline algae dependent on availability of bare space. Coral Reefs. 37(2): 397-407.
Elmer F., Rogers J.S., Dunbar R.B., Monismith S.G., Bell J.J., Gardner J.P.A. (2016). Influence of localized currents, benthic community cover and composition on coral recruitment: integrating field-based observations and physical oceanographic modelling. Proc. of the 13th ICRS, Honolulu: 101-142.
Elmer F., Riegl B. (2014). A discrete mathematical extension of conceptual ecological models–Application for the SE Florida shelf. Ecological Indicators. 44: 40-56.


Elmer F., Roth M., Rodriguez L., Giametti S., Hills A., Hoag M., Peachey R. Presentation. A Caribbean wide disease affecting ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus). 38th Scientific meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean. May 2017. Merida, Mexico. Presented by Franziska Elmer.
Klatt C., Koot M., Elmer F., Peachey R. Presentation. Determination of the degradation rate of lionfish eDNA in the laboratory. 38th Scientific meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean, May 2017. Merida, Mexico. Presented by Courtney Klatt.
Elmer F., Bell J.J., Gardner J.P.A. Speed talk. Coral recruitment benefits from a healthy parrotfish community. Society for Conservation Biology 4th Oceania Congress. July 2016. Brisbane, Australia. Presented by Franziska Elmer.
Elmer F., Forsman Z., Brumbaugh D., Bell J. J., Gardner J.P.A. Poster presentation. Increasing growth and survivorship for Pocillopora damicornis larvae and recruits at an ex-situ coral nursery. 23rd Hawai’i Conservation Conference. August 2015. Hilo, USA. Presented by Franziska Elmer.
Elmer F. (2009) Poster presentation: Sustainability assessment of the AGS AM 09 hotels. Alliance for Global Sustainability Annual Meeting. January 2009. Zurich, Switzerland. Presented by Franziska Elmer.