David J. Combosch

Curriculum Vitae


Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Museum of Comparative Zoology

Harvard University

26 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138 USA



PhD; Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology; 2013 Northeastern University, Boston, USA; Advisor: Dr. Steven V. Vollmer; Dissertation: The Evolutionary Genetics of Pocillopora corals.

Diploma (MSc) with Distinction; Environmental Sciences; 2006 University Duisburg-Essen, Germany; Advisor: Prof. Dr. H. Schuhmacher; Thesis: The scleractinian coral genus Pocillopora - ITS sequence analyses and resulting implications for the origin of Eastern Pacific reef corals.

Pre-Diploma (BSc); Ecology; 2000 University-GH Essen, Essen, Germany 


Combosch D.J. & G. Giribet (2016) Clarifying phylogenetic relationships and the evolutionary history of the bivalve order Arcida (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Pteriomorphia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 94: 298-312.

Combosch D.J. & S.V. Vollmer 2015 Trans-Pacific RAD-Seq population genomics confirms introgressive hybridization in Eastern Pacific Pocillopora corals. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 88: 154-162.

Combosch D.J. & S.V. Vollmer 2013 Mixed asexual and sexual reproduction in the Indo-Pacific reef coral Pocillopora damicornis. Ecology & Evolution 3(10): 3379-3387.

Toth L.T., R.B. Aronson, S.V. Vollmer, J.W. Hobbs, D.H. Urrego, H. Cheng, I.C. Enochs, D.J. Combosch, R. van Woesik & I.G. Macintyre 2012 ENSO drove 2500-Year Collapse of Eastern Pacific Coral Reefs. Science 337(6090): 81-84.

Combosch D.J. & S. Vollmer 2011 Population Genetics of an Ecosystem-Defining Reef Coral Pocillopora damicornis in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. PLoS ONE 6(8): e21200. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021200.

Combosch D.J., H. Guzmán, H. Schuhmacher & S. Vollmer 2008 Interspecific Hybridization and Restricted Gene Flow in Tropical Eastern Pacific Pocillopora. Molecular Ecology 17: 1304-1312.

Combosch D.J. & H. Schuhmacher 2005 Biotische Korallenkrankheiten. BIUZ 35(3): 178-184.

Reviewer for NSF Ocean Sciences, Nature Climate Change, Molecular Ecology, Heredity, PLoS One, Coral Reefs, JEMBE, Marine Biology, Marine Ecology and Galaxea.


Postdoctoral Researcher

Since 2014: Department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (USA)


2014: Coral Reef Ecology; 3 Seas Program, Northeastern University (Panama)

Site Coordinator

2009-2011: Research & Teaching Supervisor; 3 Seas Program, Northeastern University (French Polynesia & Panama)

Research Assistant

2007: Reproductive Ecology of Fungiid Corals, Prof. Y. Loya, University of the Ryukyus (Japan)

2006-2007: Biochemical characterization of HIV-protein interactions, Prof. Dr. R. Goody, Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology (Germany)

2005-2006: Re-assessment & Cataloging of the Scleractinia collection, Prof. Dr. Schuhmacher, University Duisburg-Essen (Germany)

2004: Phylogenetics of Eastern Pacific Pocillopora corals, Dr. H. Guzman, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama)

2002: Coral Diseases in the Caribbean, Dr. A. Croquer, Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela)


2016: Organismic Biology and Ecology & Population Biology; National Teaching Qualification (France)

2015: Teaching Certificate; Harvard University (USA)

2014-2016: Genetics, Genomics & Evolution, Harvard University (USA)

2007-2013: Genetics, Northeastern University (USA)

2009-2011: Ocean Coastal Processes, 3 Seas Program (French Polynesia & Panama)

2009-2011: Coral Reef Ecology, 3 Seas Program (French Polynesia & Panama)

2009-2010: Coral Biology, 3 Seas Program (French Polynesia)

2006: Coral Reef Ecology, University Essen & German University Cairo (Egypt)

2004: Zoological Microscopy, University Duisburg-Essen (Germany)

Research Tutor

2015: Caitlin Baker             PhD student

2015: Nia Walker                 Undergraduate Student

2011: Nathaniel Chu            Undergraduate Student

2010: Christopher Marks      Masters Student

2010: Courtney Rudd            Masters Student

2009: Robyn Zerebecki          Masters Student

2009: Kevin Greene               Undergraduate Student



2014: The evolutionary history of nautilids in the Indian Ocean; Museum of Comparative Zoology Barbour funds; Research Expedition grant

2007: Hybridization in corals across the Indo-Pacific; German Academic Exchange Service; Pre-doctoral Research Stipend

2005: Evaluation of genetic and ecological differences between different morphotypes of                 Pocillopora sp. of the Panamanian Pacific Coast; German Academic Exchange Service; Diploma Research Stipend

2005: Phylogenetics of Pocillopora species in the Tropical Eastern Pacific; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI); Research Award


Invited Seminar

2009: Molecular Ecology of Tropical Eastern Pacific Corals. Biodiversity Colloquium, Ruhr Universität, Bochum (Germany)


Conference Presentations

2015: Population genomics of Nautilids. Gordon Research Conference on Ecological & Evolutionary Genomics, Biddeford, ME (USA)

2012: Transpacific phylogenomic analysis of Pocillopora damicornis populations. 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, Cairns (Australia)

2010: Population genetics of an ecosystem-engineer – Pocillopora damicornis (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) in the Tropical Eastern Pacific.  International Society for Reef Studies, European Meeting, Wageningen (Netherlands)

2009: Population genetics of an ecosystem-defining reef builder – Pocillopora damicornis in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. Western Society of Naturalists, 90th Annual Meeting, Monterey, CA (USA)

2008: Local Interspecific Hybridization and Restricted Transpacific Gene Flow in Tropical Eastern Pacific Pocillopora. 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Fort Lauderdale, FL (USA)

2008: Interspecific Hybridization in Eastern Pacific Pocillopora (Scleractinia).   Benthic Ecology Meeting, Providence, RI (USA)

2006: Unexpected variation in the Calmodulin gene of corals. International Society for Reef Studies, European Meeting, Bremen (Germany)




German: Fluent written and spoken, Native language

English: Fluent written and spoken, Working language

Spanish: Fluent written and spoken, First foreign language

French: Good communication level, Work in progress



Since 2001: Open Water, Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS)

Since 2003: Advanced Diver, National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI)

Since 2007: Lead Research Diver, American Academy of Underwater Science (AAUS)

Public service

2000-2001: Speaker for Ecology, Students Board of the University-GH Essen

1999-2001: Senator, Senate of the University-GH Essen

1998-2001: Member of Parliament, Students Parliament of the University-GH Essen