Cindy Lewis

Cindy’s research interests involve the slow-growing Pillar Coral, Dendrogyra cylindrus, in the Florida Keys Reef Tract. Dendrogyra is currently one of Florida’s state-designated threatened species due to its low abundance in the Keys and listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Cindy will explore the genetic variability of the Dendrogyra, their algal symbiont partners and associated bacterial communities within and between the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys regions and the roles they may play in bleaching and disease resistance. Gaining a better understanding of this coral will assist resource managers in their efforts to preserve and restore this critically threatened species, especially in light of the anticipated changes due to climate change.

Cindy is also currently lead staff scientist at the Keys Marine Lab, Long Key, FL.  She completed her Master’s of Science Degree (2003) in Evolutionary Genetics and Ecology at the State University of New York – Buffalo. She studied the potential flexibility of the coral/algal symbiosis associated with coral bleaching stresses, under the guidance of Dr. Mary Alice Coffroth.


Uhrin, A., Matthews, T., & Lewis, C. (2014) Lobster Trap Debris in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: Distribution, Abundance, Density, and Patterns of Accumulation, Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics,     Management, and Ecosystem Science, 6:1, 20-32

Poland, D. M., Mansfield, J. M., Hannes, A. R., Lewis, C. L. F., Shearer, T. L., Connelly, S. J., . . . Coffroth, M. A. (2013). Variation in Symbiodinium communities in juvenile Briareum asbestinum (Cnidaria: Octocorallia) over temporal and spatial scales. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 476, 23-37.

Lewis, C. F., Slade, S. L., Maxwell, K. E., & Matthews, T. R. (2009). Lobster trap impact on coral reefs: Effects of wind‐driven trap movement. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 43(1), 271-282.

Coffroth, M. A., Lewis, C. F., Santos, S. R., & Weaver, J. L. (2006). Environmental populations of symbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium can initiate symbioses with reef cnidarians. Current Biology, 16(23), R985-R987.

Lewis, C. L., & Coffroth, M. A. (2004). The acquisition of exogenous algal symbionts by an octocoral after bleaching. Science, 304(5676), 1490-1492.