Natalie Whitaker

PhD Student, Biological Sciences


Advisor: Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom

Natalie Whitaker is a PhD student in Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom’s CRUSTOMICS: Crustacean Genomics and Systematics Lab. She is an evolutionary biologist with a particular interest in population genetics and conservation. Her current research focuses on understanding the genetic diversity and connectivity of a candidate species in coral reef restoration and conservation. She is working to better understand and address environmental stressors that are influencing the ecological phase shift on the coral reefs in the Florida Keys and is using molecular evolution and phylogenetic studies to enhance our understanding of the Caribbean king crab’s role in coral recruitment and biodiversity. In the future, she hopes her research will help to shape environmental policy. In her free time, Natalie enjoys spending time with her pets and going to theme parks.