Rachel Wright

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Rachel Wright

Contact & Office Hours

Sabin Reed Hall 339



Work in the Wright lab addresses how corals respond to environmental threats. This work serves (1) to inform ecosystem managers on best practices to maintain healthy reefs and (2) to explore basic biological principles related to adaptation under climate change.

We use a variety of cnidarian model systems (corals, anemones, jellyfish) to answer the following questions:

  • Genetics: How heritable are stress response phenotypes?
  • Population Genomics: What genetic variants are associated with resistance phenotypes?
  • Transcriptomics: What gene expression signatures distinguish survivors from susceptible individuals?
  • Functional Genomics: What is the mechanism of action for candidate stress response genes?

Selected Publications

Wright RM, Mera H, Kenkel CD, Nayfa M, Bay LK, Matz MV. (2019) Positive genetic associations among fitness traits support evolvability of a reef-building coral under multiple stressors. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.14764

Wright RM, Strader ME, Genuise HM†, Matz MV (2019) Effects of thermal stress on amount, composition, and antibacterial properties of coral mucus. PeerJ 7:e6849. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6849

Wright RM, Kenkel CD†, Dunn CE†, Shilling EN, Bay LK, Matz MV (2017) Intraspecific differences in molecular stress responses and coral pathobiome contribute to mortality under bacterial challenge in Acropora millepora. Scientific Reports. 7:2609.

Wright RM, Aglyamova GV, Meyer E, Matz MV (2015) Gene expression associated with white syndromes in a reef building coral, Acropora hyacinthus. BMC Genomics. 16:371

Matz MV, Wright RM, Scott JG (2013) No Control Genes Required: Bayesian Analysis of qRT-PCR Data. PLoS ONE 8(8).

Wright lab member
†undergraduate author