Catalina Gomez

McGill University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Andrew Gonzalez
Hector M. Guzman
Start: 2013-09-10
End: 2017-01-01


Coral community stability and recovery in variable environments; field observation and experiments from two gulfs in the Eastern Tropical Pacific
The aim of my thesis is to study how the stability of coral reefs and coral communities is related to environmental fluctuations at short and long temporal scales. I will focus on long-term population and community variability and presence of alternative stable states in coral reefs. I will combine experiments and Markov chain models to study the effects of pulse perturbations on octocoral communities, and the biological traits involved in species’ responses to disturbance. This research will take place in two gulfs off the coast of Panama that differ in the stability of the environmental fluctuations within and between years. This comparative approach will provide an exceptional opportunity to further knowledge on octocoral ecology and taxonomy, and will be of direct relevance to their conservation in the region.


coral reef, coral communities, octocorals, alternative stable states, disturbance, stability


1- Potential vessel collisions with Southern Hemisphere humpback whales wintering off Pacific Panama
Guzman, Hector M., Catalina G. Gomez, Carlos A. Guevara, Lars Kleivane
2012 Marine Mammal Science

2- Survival, growth, and recruitment of octocoral species (Coelenterata: Octocorallia) in Coiba National Park, Pacific Panama
Gomez, Catalina G, Hector M Guzman, Andrew Gonzalez, Odalisca Breedy
2014 Bulletin of Marine Science

3- Population decline and the effects of disturbances on the structure and recovery of octocoral communities (Coelenterata: Octocorallia) in Pacific Panama
Gomez, Catalina G., Hector M. Guzman, Andrew Gonzalez
2014 Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom