Leah Harper

Network Central Technician


Leah has been working with MarineGEO since 2018.  As Central Technician, her focus is the coordination, logistics, and execution of fieldwork. She began her marine field research and scientific diving career in 2010, spending an undergraduate semester studying coral reef ecology in Bonaire.  She completed her M.S. in 2017, with a thesis that explored the relationships between life-history stages of corals in a high-latitude community.  Throughout her time in graduate school, Leah was a frequent member of fieldwork teams deployed to conduct coral spawning research and benthic monitoring in locations such as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Belize.  Before coming to Smithsonian, Leah was part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Corals Research Program, where she managed a three-year coral recruitment study in Southeastern Florida and contributed to demographic monitoring of benthic organisms in the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.  Her research interests include the dynamics and ecosystem impacts of coral diseases, recruitment ecology of sessile benthic organisms, and the relationships between fish community structure and ecosystem function.