Coral Health & Disease

Dr. Sara Williams

Dr. Sara Williams

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Williams joined the Mote team as a Postdoctoral Researcher in 2020 shortly after finishing her Ph.D. at Northeastern University in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. For her dissertation research, Dr. Williams used network science and modeling combined with fieldwork and physiological experiments to attack problems facing coral reefs from multiple angles. She studies the connections among polyps in a coral colony, the associations of coral species and their symbiotic algae and microbiome, and the spread of coral diseases - all under the lens of global climate change. At Mote, Dr. Williams will continue using innovative modeling and statistical analyses to study coral health and disease dynamics while advancing our understanding of coral reef resilience.


Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology; Northeastern University, 2020.

B.S. in Physics (Honors) with a minor in Biology; College of William and Mary, January 2014.


Williams SD, Walter CS, and Muller EM (2021). Fine Scale Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Outbreak Within the Lower Florida Keys. Frontiers in Marine Science. 8:631776. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.631776

Williams, S.D. and Patterson M.R. (2020). Resistance and robustness of the global coral-symbiont network. Ecology.

Awards & Honors

2015-2020: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

2017: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Short Term Fellowship.

2012: National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates internship at Mote Marine Laboratory.