Howard R. Lasker

PhD (he/him/his)

Howard R. Lasker.

Howard R. Lasker

PhD (he/him/his)

Howard R. Lasker

PhD (he/him/his)


Population ecology of coral reef organisms


PhD, Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago – 1978

Research Interests

I am interested in the ecology of coral reef organisms particularly the population ecology of octocorals (soft corals and gorgonians). I and my students have conducted studies ranging from the feeding ecology of butterfly fish to the evolution and systematics of corals, and we use techniques that range from scuba based observations to DNA sequencing. Much of my current research employs a combination of field experiments and molecular studies to examine the reproduction and recruitment of octocorals on Caribbean reefs.

Course Offerings

  • GLY 309 – Ecology
  • GLY 409 – Advanced Ecology
  • GLY 411 – Marine Ecology
  • GLY 412 – Field Course in Tropical Marine Ecology
  • GLY 555 – Colloquium in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
  • GLY 499 – Independent Study
  • GLY 599 – Supervised Teaching
  • GLY 633 – Graduate Research
  • GLY 700 – Thesis Guidance

Recent Former Students

  • Katie Bala
  • Meghan Balling – MS (2008) – Currently a Fishing and Diving Coordinator at Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Coral Reef Conservation Program).
  • Marcos Barbeitos
  • William Clayton
  • Daniel Brazeau
  • Hillliary Vreeland
  • Kiho Kim
  • Elizabeth Bering Kim
  • Jennifer Jamison – MS (2006) – Currently a Lab Manager/Senior Research Support Specialist at State University of New York at Buffalo.
  • Carla Gutierrez-Rodriguez – PhD (2003) – Currently a Professor at Instituto de Ecología, A.C..
  • Juan Sanchez

Recent Publications

Joseph, E.O., Carlo, J., Lasker, H.R. Phenotypic Plasticity in Sclerites of the Gorgoniid Octocoral Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata (in review)Smilansky, V.; Lasker, H.R. (2014) Fine-scale genetic structure in the surface brooding Caribbean octocoral, Antillogorgia elisabethae. Marine Biology 161:853-861, DOI 10.1007/s00227-013-2385-3

Recruitment and Resilience of a Harvested Caribbean Octocoral. PLoS ONE 8(9): e74587. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074587 (2013)

Porto-Hannes, I, Lasker, H.R., (2013) Isolation and characterization of 7 microsatellite loci in the Caribbean gorgonian Antillogorgia elisabethae. Marine Biodiversity 43:273-277. DOI 10.1007/s12526-013-0154-7

Evans, M., Coffroth, M.A. and H.R. Lasker. (2013) Effects of predator exclusion on recruit survivorship in an octocoral (Briareum asbestinum) and a scleractinian coral (Porites astreoides). Coral Reefs 32:597-601

Page, C.A. and H.R. Lasker. (2012) Effects of tissue loss, age and size on fecundity in the octocoral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae. J. Expt. Mar. Biol. & Ecol 434-435:47-52.

McLean, E.A. and H.R. Lasker. (2012) Height Matters: position above the substratum influences the growth of two demosponge species. Marine Ecology 34:122-129 DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2012.00523.x

Lessios, H.A., Lasker, H.R., Levitan, D. (2012) The use of SCUBA to study early life histories of marine invertebrates. Research and Discovery: The Revolution of Science through Scuba. Smithsonian Institution Press

Kahng, S., Benayahu, Y. and H.R. Lasker. (2011) Sexual reproduction in octocorals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 443:265-283

Carlo, J.M., Barbeitos, M.S., Lasker, H.R. (2011) Quantifying complex shapes: elliptical fourier analysis of octocoral sclerites. Biological Bulletin 220:224-237.

Barbeitos, M.S., Romano, S.L., Lasker, H.R. (2010) Repeated loss of coloniality and symbiosis in scleractinian corals. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 107: 11877–11882

Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, C., Barbeitos, M.S., Sánchez, J.A. and H. R. Lasker. (2009) Phylogeography and morphological variation of the branching octocoral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae. Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics 50:1-15

Lasker, H.R., Guteirrez-Rodriguez, C., Bala, K., Bilewitch, J.P., Hannes, A. (2008) Male reproductive success during spawning events of the octocoral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae . Marine Ecology Progress Series 367:153-161.

Goffredo, S., Lasker, H.R. (2008) An adaptive management approach to an octocoral fishery based on the Beverton-Holt model. Coral Reefs 27:751–761 DOI 10.1007/s00338-008-0391-6

Jamison, J.L., Lasker, H.R. (2008) Identification of octocoral recruits using microsatellite primers: Relationships between recruitment and adult distribution of Pseudopterogorgia spp. Limnology & Oceanography 53: 1963-1972