In Memoriam of Dr. Ruth Gates

Research Professor
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology & Oceanography

Ruth completed her PhD at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England in 1990.  She subsequently spent 13 years at UCLA as a postdoctoral and junior researcher before moving to the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, a research unit within the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she became a tenured Research Professor. There, she leveraged the combination of close proximity to coral reefs and world-class research infrastructure to address questions on how corals and reefs function.  Her work crossed spatial scales from molecules to ecosystems and employed tools from the fields of molecular, cell and computational biology, biochemistry, physiology and ecology.

Ruth’s enduring goal was to build human, biological, and educational capacity to slow and stop declines in reef integrity and improve the prognosis for coral reefs in the face of intensifying impacts from climate change and human use. She mentored postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates and had a diversity of national and international collaborators that encompass engineers, artists and film producers. Her research has been showcased on film, television, in print and on radio, and Ruth had recently won an international competition  (Paul Allen Ocean Challenge: Mitigating Impacts of Ocean Acidification) for her idea to use assisted evolution to breed corals capable of withstanding future ocean conditions.

Ruth served as an editor for the scientific journals Coral Reefs and Ocean Acidification and on the Advisory Boards of The Tetiaroa Society and The Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research Site.