Whitney Hoot

Whitney Hoot

Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Student





University of Maryland, College Park
M.S. Conservation Biology

Barnard College, Columbia University
B.A. Sociology and Environmental Science



Restoring coral reef ecosystems through integrated science and management







Whitney earned a BA in sociology and environmental science from Barnard College, Columbia University, and an MS in conservation biology from the University of Maryland, College Park. For her master's research, she tested the effectiveness of using transplanted alcyonaceans to stabilize rubble slopes on a dynamite-blasted reef in Malaysian Borneo. She has previously worked for the International Organization for Migration, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the Smithsonian National Zoo, in addition to interning at the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and the Conservation Society of Pohnpei in Micronesia. She is a NOAA Scientific Diver and PADI Divemaster and has completed more than 300 dives in 20 countries. Whitney currently works as a coral reef resource manager and researcher with the Government of Guam and previously served as Guam's National Coral Reef Management Fellow.



  • Coral reef ecology
  • Marine biology
  • Restoration ecology
  • Community ecology
  • Social science
  • Coastal resource management


Research Overview

The goal of my PhD research is to integrate ecology and social science to establish best practices for coral reef restoration and identify barriers to the success of restoration efforts. Coral reefs support unparalleled marine biodiversity and provide innumerable ecosystem services. Coral reef decline, which has accelerated rapidly due to localized stressors and climate change, thus threatens the human communities that depend on these ecosystems. Reef restoration is a growing but nascent field, with many questions remaining about the best approaches to actively mitigate the loss of reefs and associated species. This project incorporates three interdisciplinary components: assessment of restoration methods to determine best practices, evaluation of community engagement approaches, and a comparative synthesis of restoration efforts to inform future coral restoration work.



  • University of Guam