Laboratory of Integrative Marine and Coastal Ecology

Andia Chaves Fonnegra

Assistant Professor

Andia Chaves Fonnegra, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Florida Atlantic University
Wilkes Honors College/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Publications | Website 


The Laboratory of Integrative Marine and Coastal Ecology focuses on understanding the mechanisms that underlie changes in marine and coastal ecosystems by studying the structure and dynamics of organisms, populations and communities. Our focus are marine sponges, corals and algae.

We use an interdisciplinary approach in which we integrate reproductive biology, experimental ecology, population genetics and mathematical modeling. The goal of our research is to determine how organisms, ecological interactions and ecosystems are altered by anthropogenic activities and global impacts such as marine pollution and climate change, and aims to enhance management of ecosystems.


Grants and Fellowships 

2011-2013 UNESCO-L’Oréal Fellowship for Young Women in Science

2010 NSU Chancellor´s Faculty Research and Development Grant

2006 Short Term Fellowship. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

2005 Link Foundation Grant. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution 

2002 SIGMA XI (The Scientific Research Society) Grant


Recent Publications

  • Chaves-Fonnegra Andia, Panassiti Bernd, Smith Tyler B., Brown Elizabeth, Clemens Elizabeth, Sevier Moriah, Brandt Marilyn E. 2021. Environmental and biological drivers of white plague disease on shallow and mesophotic coral reefs. Ecography.  
  • Olinger Lauren*, Chaves-Fonnegra Andia, Enochs Ian C., Brandt Marilyn E. 2021. Three Competitors in Three Dimensions: Photogrammetry Reveals Rapid Overgrowth of Coral During Multispecies Competition with Sponges and Algae. Marine Ecology Progress Series 657:109-121.   
  • Gochfeld Deborah J., Olson Julie B., Chaves-Fonnegra Andia, Smith Tyler B., Ennis Rosmin S. and Brandt Marilyn E. 2020. Impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Coral Reef Sponge Communities in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Estuaries and Coasts 43: 1235–1247.   
  • Easson Cole, Chaves-Fonnegra Andia, Thacker Robert W., Lopez Jose V. 2020. Host population genetics and biogeography structure the microbiome of the sponge Cliona delitrix. Ecology and Evolution.  
  • Brandt Marilyn E., Olinger Lauren*, Chaves-Fonnegra Andia, Olson Julie B., Gochfeld Deborah. 2019. Coral recruitment is impacted by the presence of a sponge community. Marine Biology 166 (29).   
  • Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Riegl, B, Zea, S., Lopez, J.V., Brandt, M., Smith, T. and Gilliam, D.S. Online published 2017. Bleaching events regulate shifts from coral to excavating sponges. Global Change Biology.
  • Halperin, A.A, Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Gilliam, D.S. 2017. Coral-excavating spongeCliona delitrix: current trends of space occupation on high latitude coral reefs. Hydrobiologia, 790 (1): 299–310.
  • St. Gelais. A.T., Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Kosmynin, V.N., Moulding, A.L. and Gilliam D.S. Siderastrea siderea spawning and oocyte resorption at high latitude. 2016. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development, 60 (3): 212 -222
  • Torsten, T., Moitinho-Silva, L., Lurgi, M., Björk, J.R., Easson, C., Astudillo, C., Olson, J.B., Erwin, P.M., López-Legentil, S., Luter, H., Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Costa, R., Schupp, P., Steindler, L., Erpenbeck, D., Gilbert, J., Knight, R., Ackerman, G., Lopez, J.V., Taylor, M.W., Thacker, R.W., Montoya, J.M., Hentschel, U., and Webster, N. 2016. Global Sponge Microbiome: Diversity, structure and convergent evolution of the global sponge microbiome. Nature Communications 7, article number 11870.
  • St. Gelais. A.T., Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Brownlee, A.S. Kosmynin, V.N., Moulding, A.L. and Gilliam D.S. 2016. Fecundity and sexual maturity of the coralSiderastrea siderea at high latitude along the Florida Coral Reef Tract, USA. Invertebrate Biology: 135(1): 46-57. 
  • Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Maldonado, M. and J.V. Lopez. 2016. Asynchronous reproduction and multi-spawning in the coral excavating sponge Cliona delitrix. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, UK 96(2): 515-528.
  • Halperin, A., Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Gilliam, D.S. 2016. Effect of excavating-sponge
    removal on coral growth. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, UK, 96(2), 473–479.
  • Chaves-Fonnegra, A., Feldheim, K.A., Secord, J. and J.V. Lopez. 2015. Population structure
    and dispersal of the coral-excavating sponge Cliona delitrix in the Greater Caribbean Sea.
    Molecular Ecology, 24(7): 1447–1466.
HBOI ocean fish