©2019 by Verena Schoepf

About Me

I am a marine biologist investigating how climate and environmental change impact tropical coral reefs, the “rainforests of the sea”. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor and MacGillavry Fellow at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam. I have published more than 30 papers in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Nature and Science, and have won several awards such as the WA Young Tall Poppy Science Award. As a Superstar of STEM and TEDx Speaker, I am passionate about science communication and promoting women in STEM, and my career and research on “super corals” were featured in the documentary series “Women and Oceans”.

 

My Story

I grew up in the Tyrol region of Austria and spent much of my childhood hiking and skiing in the beautiful Austrian Alps. However, watching the fascinating underwater documentaries of the Austrian biologist and diving pioneer Hans Hass as a child kindled a deep passion for the marine environment and I decided to pursue a career as a marine biologist.

After completing my masters research on the feeding ecology of a coral predator with Prof Martin Zuschin at the University of Innsbruck and the University of Vienna (Austria), I moved to the U.S. to study the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on reef-building corals at The Ohio State University with Prof Andréa Grottoli. I was awarded my PhD in 2013.

From 2013-2019, I was a Research Fellow in Prof Malcolm McCulloch‘s lab at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the University of Western Australia in Perth. In 2017, I became one of the Program Leaders for Research Program 2 “Ecosystem Dynamics: Past, Present and Future” within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

In November 2019, I started my new position as Assistant Professor and MacGillavry Fellow at the Dept. of Freshwater and Marine Bioloy at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

My research on tropical coral reefs has taken me to many fascinating places on this planet, including the Red Sea, the Mexican Caribbean, the Great Barrier Reef and the unique coral reefs of Western Australia.

 

Education

2005

BSc

Biology
University of Innsbruck, Austria

2008

MSc

Zoology
University of Innsbruck, Austria

2013

PhD

Geological Sciences
The Ohio State University, USA

 

My CV

 

2019 - present

Assistant Professor and MacGillavry Fellow

University of Amsterdam, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), Department of Freshwater and Marine Biology (FAME)

2019 - present

Adjunct Research Fellow

The University of Western Australia, UWA Oceans Institute

2017 - 2019

Program Leader

Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Program Co-Leader for Research Program 2 “Ecosystem Dynamics: Past, Present and Future”

2013 - 2019

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

The University of Western Australia, Oceans Graduate SchoolUWA Oceans Institute and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, 

Prof Malcolm McCulloch's research group

2012 - 2013

Presidential Fellow

The Ohio State University, School of Earth Sciences

PhD Candidate in Prof Andrea Grottoli's research group

2009 - 2012

Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant

The Ohio State University, School of Earth Sciences

Awards and Honours

2019/20

Superstar of STEM

Science and Technology Australia

This program aims to smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM. Read more here.

2018

WA Young Tall Poppy Award

Australian Institute of Policy and Science

This award recognizes outstanding academic achievement as well as excellence in communication and community engagement to promote an understanding of science.

2012

Presidential Fellowship

The Ohio State University

This is the Ohio State University Graduate School’s most prestigious award, recognizing outstanding scholarly accomplishments and potential.

 

Finalist - Outstanding Woman in Science Award

2015

Geological Society of America

The Award is awarded to a woman that has impacted the field of the geosciences in a major way based on her Ph.D. research. 

Distinguished Senior PhD Student

2013

The Ohio State University School of Earth Sciences

Spieker Award recognizing academic excellence.

Gretchen L. Blechschmidt Award

2012

Geological Society of America

This Award supports a female graduate student with interests in doctoral-level research in biostratigraphy and/or paleoceanography.

Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award

2010

The Ohio State University School of Earth Sciences

Awarded for excellence in classroom teaching.

Helen M. and Milton O. Lee Fellowship

2010

The Ohio State University

Awarded to support a summer research project.

Best New Graduate Student

2010

The Ohio State University School of Earth Sciences

Estwing Award

1st Prize Young Scientists Write Press Releases

2008

Austrian Press Agency

This resulted in a media story on my Master's research in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

Scholarship of Excellence

2007, 2005, 2002

University of Innsbruck

Awarded based on excellent student grades.