The Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Visiting Fellowship in Conservation Biology at Harvard University

2017-2018 Hrdy Visiting Fellow, Aaron Hartmann, Ph.D.

Aaron C. Hartmann
Ph.D., Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
M.S., Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
B.S., Biology, University of Vermont


Aaron HartmannAaron C. Hartmann is a marine biologist with an emphasis on ecology and conservation. His research addresses fundamental questions in marine systems while generating actionable advice for ecosystem conservation. Aaron’s projects, primarily studying stony corals, examine how early life history strategies influence environmental tolerance, how the evolution of symbiont transmission is shaped by environmental conditions, how human impacts on the ocean influence coral offspring survival, and how metabolites diversify in marine communities. Overall, Aaron seeks to understand how coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems will fare in the face of ongoing environmental change and uncover tools to mitigate these impacts.

Aaron's research combines field collections and experimentation with next-generation datasets including metagenomes, transcriptomes, and metabolomes. Most notably, Aaron has developed a metabolomic tool to address questions related to the diversification of small molecules. His research has been published in top journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ecology, Conservation Letters, Marine Ecology Progress Series, and Coral Reefs.

Hartmann_Reefscape of a healthy and highly reproductive coral reef in the undeveloped Oostpunt region of Curaçao_Credit Mark VermeijGiven that ecosystem conservation depends on human behavior, Aaron is an active communicator through teaching and writing. He has taught classroom and field courses to students ranging from high school to the graduate level. He wrote a blog called “Science Minded” for a San Diego newspaper that made science and scientific careers approachable to students. Aaron also published a creative nonfiction piece about coral reef conservation issues and acted as a science advisor for two student-led coral reef conservation documentaries.

As a Hrdy Fellow, Aaron plans to better define the critical habitat necessary for coral recruitment and map the distribution of these habitats throughout reefs in the Pacific. Aaron will use existing genomic and metabolomic datasets to uncover the broad-scale geography of settlement cues and will design and test surfaces that encourage settlement and survival of coral offspring. He hopes this work will expand existing coral conservation strategies in order to sustain or restore depleted coral reef communities.

About the Award

The Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Fellowship in Conservation Biology serves to support the study of conservation biology within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. The fellowship is awarded to an individual who will engage in scientific study and work in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. The fellowship commences with an annual lecture in conservation biology by the distinguished individual chosen for the fellowship from outside Harvard University. It is the hope of the benefactors that this fellowship will have a strong and transformative effect on the study of conservation biology at Harvard, from the undergraduate to the senior teaching level.

Past Recipients

Onja Razafindratsima, 2016-2017
Francesca Cagnacci, 2015-2016
Joe Roman, 2014-2015
Helen James, 2011-2012
Per Palsbøll, 2010-2011
H. Bradley Shaffer, 2009-2010
Navjot Sodhi, 2008-2009
David Roberts, 2007-2008
Tamas Szekeley, 2006-2007
Amy Dunham, 2005-2006
Claus Wedekind, 2004-2005
Richard Frankham, 2003-2004
Andrew Torrance, 2002-2003
Zoe Cardon, 2002-2003
Manuel Lerdau, 2001-2002
Callum Roberts, 2000-2001
Matthew Hare, 1999-2000