Harmony Martell

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Ocean Leaders


Ph.D. in Ecological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA
M.Sc. in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
B.S. in Biology with Honors, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Research Units

Climate and Coastal Ecosystem Laboratory
Department of Geography
Institute of Oceans and Fisheries

Research Interests

I am an ecophysiologist with an interest in linking fine-scale mechanisms of physiology to large scale phenomena, such as large scale coral bleaching events. My previous research focused on the thermal acclimatization of corals, thermal performance and acquired thermal tolerance (i.e., coral stress memory). During my Ph.D. work, I observed a behavior in corals in the lab referred to as supercompensation in the exercise physiology literature: akin to runners training for a marathon, when corals are exposed to sublethal dose of thermal stress, it appears their fitness is briefly enhanced. Here at UBC, I am developing models (1) to look for evidence of supercompensation on reefs globally, (2) to better understand the mechanisms of coral bleaching using the relationship between light, temperature and metabolism, and (3) to determine whether we have already observed the peak of coral bleaching as we continue to lose corals. I am also working on science communication initiatives within the Ocean Leaders Program.


I earned a Bachelors of Science in Biology and spent 4 years teaching high school science in New Jersey, before attending Nova Southeastern University where I focused on bio-optical modeling of coral-dwelling Symbiodiniaceae pigments to earn my M.Sc. After working for a recreational fishing non-profit organization in southeast Florida and a national laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I returned to graduate school to earn my Ph.D. at Old Dominion University (Virginia) in Ecological Sciences. My passions are SCUBA diving, underwater photography, sailing, and painting. I am super proud to be a mom in academia.

Contact Information

1984 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia
Email: harmony.martell@ubc.ca
Phone: (604) 822-2663

Ocean Leaders
Simon Donner Lab

Social media
Twitter: @HarmonyMartell

Selected publications:

Murton J, Nagarajan A, Nguyen AY, Liberton M, Hancock HA, Pakrasi HB, Timlin JA. (2017) Population level coordination of pigment response in individual cyanobacterial cells under altered nitrogen levels. Photosynthesis Research. doi:10.1007/s11120-017-0422-7