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Kiho Kim

Department Chair, Environmental Science
Department of Environmental Science

  • Additional Positions at AU

    Affiliate Faculty - Department of Biology
    Affiliate Faculty - School of Education, Teaching and Health
    Director, AU Scholars Program
  • Dr. Kim is a marine ecologist specializing in tropical coral reefs. His research focuses on understanding the role of diseases in marine ecosystems and the synergistic effects of environmental factors, such as nutrient pollution and climate change, in the degradation of coral reefs. Most recently, he has been using biogeochemical approaches to understand nitrogen dynamics and their interaction with disease within individual corals to entire, coral communities, and coastal ecosystems.
  • Degrees

    PhD, Biology, University at Buffalo; MS, Biology, Florida International University; BSc Biology, Environmental Studies, Brock University

  • CAS - Environmental Science
  • Beeghly - 104

  • (202) 885-2181 (Office)
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Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Fall 2015

    • GNED-250 General Education Area 5 Topic: The Marine Environment
    • Description
    • IDIS-196 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: AU Scholars Research Lab
    • Description
  • Spring 2016

    • IDIS-196 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: AU Scholars Rsrch Experience
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Dr. Kim's research focuses on understanding the role of diseases in coral population ecology and the synergistic effects of environmental factors, such as nutrient pollution and ocean warming, in the decline of coral reefs. Projects on in my lab include: i) long-term monitoring of the impact of aspergillosis on sea fans, ii) elucidating the role of microbial communities on coral surfaces in disease, and iii) examining the interaction between nutrient pollution and disease.

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • 2013, NSF-BIO OCE (RAPID) Documenting bleaching susceptibility and resilience in Guam, Micronesia

  • 2012, NSF-DUE. From the Laboratory to the Classroom: Building Capacity for Math and Science Teaching in DC (Lab2Class)

  • 2008, NOAA-Fisheries Habitat Conservation Program Office. Testing for links between nutrient pollution and coral health and disease

  • 2006, NOAA–National Undersea Research Center. The link between coral hosts, surface microbiota and disease

  • 2003, US-EPA, Origins and impacts of the Sea Fan Aspergillosis Epizootic Explored with Molecular and Field Techniques

  • 2002, NOAA–National Undersea Research Center. Impact of Aspergillosis of sea fan corals in the Florida Keys, Rapid Response Support

  • 2000, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—National Undersea Research Center, Aspergillosis of sea fans in the Florida Keys: disease resistance and spread

Selected Publications

Redding J, Myers-Miller, Baker D, Fogel M, Raymundo L & K Kim (2013) Link between sewage-derived nitrogen pollution and coral disease severity in Guam. Marine Pollution Bulletin 73: 57-63  (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.06.002 )


Harrison G, Kim K & Collins AG (2013) Low genetic diversity of the putatively introduced, brackish water hydrozoan, Blackfordia virginica (Leptothecata, Blackfordiidae), throughout the United States, with a new record for Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 126: 91-102.

Kim K & S Morawski (2012) Going trayless in a University dining hall. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 7, 482-486

Baker DM, Kim K, Andras JP, Sparks JP (2011) Light-mediated 15N fractionation in Caribbean gorgonian octocorals: implications for pollution monitoring. Coral Reefs 30: 709-717.

Bruno JB, Ellner S, Vu I, Kim K, Harvell D (2011) Impacts of aspergillosis on sea fan coral demography: modeling a moving target. Ecological Monographs 81: 123-139      

Kim K (2010) Sea Sick: Book Review. Oceanography 23: 124

Baker DM, KL Webster, K Kim (2010) Caribbean octocorals record changing carbon and nitrogen sources from 1862-2005. Global Change Biology 16: 2701-2710.

Kim K, C Paige, CD Harvell (2009) The role of environment and microorganisms in diseases of corals: overview of DAO Special 5. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 87: 1-3

National Research Council (2008) Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century. The National Academies Press

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Marine biology, coral reef ecology, marine conservation

Additional Information: Kiho Kim is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science at American University. He received his PhD in 1996 at the State University of New York–Buffalo, studying the ecology of tropical coral reefs, and did postdoctoral work at Cornell University. Kim has participated in working groups at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) examining the ecology of diseases. He has worked with the British Council in promoting international networking for young scientists and is currently an advisor to the Coral Disease Working Group of the World Bank. As chair of the Department of Environmental Science at American University, Kim focuses on training undergraduate and graduate students to be clear and effective advocates for science in policy making. He is currently a member of the Ocean Studies Board (OSB) of the National Academies of Science (NAS). Kim’s research focuses on understanding the role of diseases in coral population ecology and the synergistic effects of environmental factors, such as nutrient pollution and ocean warming, in the decline of coral reefs. Kim is coauthor of the article, "Aspergillosis of Sea Fan Corals: Dynamics in the Florida Keys" in The Everglades, Florida Bay and Coral Reefs of the Florida Keys (CRC Press). Kim is also coauthor of the article "Diseases and the Conservation of Marine Diversity" in Marine Conservation, edited by E. Norse and L. Crowder (Island Press). In 2009, he helped develop and teach the interdisciplinary course Practice of Environmentalism, which included a10-day research trip to the Galapagos Islands. For more information about the course, go to http://www.american.edu/research/success/galapagos-collaboration-070109.cfm.

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