Kevin P. Helmle, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences
(954) 262-3656


Area(s) of Research

Coral reef ecology and geology, sclerochronology, and geochemistry

Research areas include the study of annual density banding in coral skeletons using X-radiography and X-ray Computed Tomography (CT). Some reef-building corals can live for hundreds of years. Cores from these corals provide records of growth and calcification rates from the density bands along with records of environmental and climatic change from the geochemistry of the skeleton. Recent projects address limiting controls on coral growth and calcification associated with large-scale influences of climate change and ocean acidification along with local-scale influences of freshwater discharge and coastal development. Field work has included studies of coral skeletal records from southeast Florida and the Florida Keys, the windward islands of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the Cape Verde Islands in the eastern Atlantic.

Current Students

Darren B. Marshall

Helmle, K. P., R. E. Dodge, P. K. Swart, D. K. Gledhill, and C. M. Eakin (2011) Growth rates of Florida corals from 1937 to 1996 and their response to climate change. Nature Communications, 2:215 doi: 10.1038/ncomms1222

View entire paper.

Helmle, K.P. and R.E. Dodge (2011) "Sclerochronology" in: Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs, David Hopley (ed) Springer, Dordrecht, pp 958-966, doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-2639-2.View entire paper

Stanley, G.D. and K.P. Helmle (2010) Middle Triassic coral growth bands and their implication for photosymbiosis. PALAIOS, 25: 754-763. doi: 10.2110/palo.2010.p10-039r. View entire paper.

Swart, P.K., L.Greer, B.E. Rosenheim, C.S. Moses, A.Winter, R.E. Dodge, K. Helmle (2010) 13C Suess effect in scleractinian corals mirror changes in the anthropogenic CO2 inventory of the surface oceans. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L05604, doi: 2009GL041397R. View entire paper.

Banks K.W., B.M. Riegl, V.P. Richards, B.K. Walker, K.P. Helmle, L.K.B. Jordan, M.S. Shivji, R.E. Spieler, R.E. Dodge (2008) "The reef tract of continental southeast Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, USA)". in: Riegl B, Dodge RE (eds) Coral reefs of the USA, Springer, Dordrecht, pp 173-218. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6847-8_5

Smith, J.M., T.M. Quinn, K.P. Helmle, and R.B. Halley (2006) Reproducibility of geochemical and climatic signals in the Atlantic coral Montastraea faveolata. Paleoceanography, 21, PA1010, doi:10.1029/2005PA001187. View entire paper

Eakin, C.M., P.K. Swart, T.M. Quinn, K.P. Helmle, J.M. Smith, and R.E. Dodge (2006) Application of Paleoclimatology to Coral Reef Monitoring and Management. Proc. of 10th Int Coral Reef Symp. Okinawa, Japan June 28-July 2 2004, pp 588-596. View entire paper.

Moses, C.S., K.P. Helmle, P.K. Swart, R.E. Dodge, and S.E. Merino (2003) Pavements of Siderastrea radians on Cape Verde reefs. Coral Reefs, 22(4): 506. Views entire paper.

Helmle, K.P., R.E. Dodge, and R.A. Ketcham (2002) Skeletal architecture and density banding in Diploria strigosa by X-ray computed tomography. Proc. of 9th Int Coral Reef Symp. Bali, Indonesia Oct. 23-27 2000, Vol. 1, pp 365-371. View entire paper.