2019 ARCS Honolulu Scholar Shayle Matsuda has received a 2021 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship, one of the nation’s premier postdoctoral programs in conservation science. Awarded by the Society for Conservation Biology and the Cedar Tree Foundation, the Smith Fellowship identifies and supports early-career scientists who will shape the growth of applied conservation science and seeks to find solutions to the most pressing conservation challenges.Matsuda's doctoral work at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa focused on the effects of ocean warming on coral-microbial symbioses and coral physiology. During the fellowship, he will be part of a team of researchers working on an international coral reef restoration project. Matsuda will assess how transplanting coral affects their health, specifically the symbiotic relationship between coral and their microbiomes.
“Corals are incredibly fascinating organisms and are the bedrock of most tropical reef ecosystems,” Matsuda says. “While corals themselves initially drew me in, it is the increasing frequency and severity of global coral bleaching events, the devastation to reef ecosystems and the communities who rely on them that has led to my dedication to coral reef conservation.”