PhD candidate

Gehrmann Building, Level 8

School of Biological Sciences 

University of Queensland

St Lucia QLD 4072


T: +61 7 33659753






Research interests

Temporal and spatial trends in biodiversity (compositional, functional) and ecological assembly

(Paleo)climate – (paleo)ecology relationships

Biogeographic dynamics of fossil coral assemblages in relation to climate change

Assessing the impact of anthropogenic stresses on marine environments and invertebrates

Taphonomy and time-averaging of marine faunal assemblages


Current project

Ecological Dynamics of Pleistocene reef corals

Fossil and modern ecological communities are dynamic both temporally and spatially and respond to changes in environmental and climatic conditions. The Middle – Late Pleistocene (~1.0 – 0.01 Ma) climate is characterized by the intensification of cyclic oscillations between glacial (cool, low sea level) and interglacial (warm, high sea level) intervals. The fossil record, preserving a long-term dataset of coral reef communities composed of extant species, reveals that reef corals have persisted throughout the Pleistocene despite these multiple dramatic climate fluctuations, some of which are similar in magnitude to modern climate change. Although it provides a valuable ecologic resource, the Early – Late Pleistocene history of coral reef ecology remains largely unexplored, particularly in relation to climate changes during this critical period of reef expansion, and persistence, into modern reef ecosystems. My PhD project integrates taxonomic and trait-based paleontological data with paleoclimate interpretations and extant reef ecology to quantitatively evaluate the temporal distribution of coral taxa and functional traits in relation to multiple episodes and rates of climate change across the Pleistocene.

The overarching goal of this project is to highlight the effects of past global climate and environmental change on the biogeography of reef community composition and genera functionality. Specifically, my project investigates temporal and spatial variability of coral composition and functional dynamics 1) across the Middle – Late Pleistocene, an interval characterized by global climate transitioning; 2) by comparing Pleistocene and Modern coral assemblages at the same localities, and 3) by providing the first taxonomic description of Pleistocene azooxanthellatae corals from Western Australia and relating this assemblage to changing regional environmental conditions. The research findings will enhance our understanding of the relative response of coral community structure and functional traits to relatively rapid climate change as well as the biogeographic variability of these responses, both of which will inform our predictions of how coral assemblages may persist under future climate conditions and thereby aid in the management of modern marine ecosystems.

SUPERVISORS: Prof. John M. Pandolfi (UQ), Dr. Kevin Welsh (UQ), Prof. Jian-xin Zhao (UQ)



MSc Geology/Paleontology – University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

BA Geology – Cornell College, USA

BA Studio Art – Cornell College, USA



Christensen, B., et al. and Expedition 356 Scientists. (in review). Indonesian Throughflow drove Australian climate from humid Pliocene to arid Pleistocene. Geophysical Research Letters.

Groenveld, J., et al. and Expedition 356 Scientists. (in press). Australian shelf sediments reveal shifts in Miocene Southern Hemisphere Westerlies. Science Advances.

Mihaljević, M., Korpanty, C., Renema, W., Welsh, K., Pandolfi, J.M. (in press). Identifying patterns and drivers of coral diversity in the Central Indo-Pacific marine biodiversity hotspot. Paleobiology.

DeVleeschouwer, D., et al., and Expedition 356 Scientists. 2017. Quantifying K, U, and Th contents of marine sediments using shipboard natural gamma radiation spectra measured on DV JOIDES Resolution. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. doi: 10.1002/2016GC006715.

Gallagher, S.J., Fulthorpe, C.S., Bogus, K., and Expedition 356 Scientists. 2017. Expedition 356 Preliminary Report: Indonesian Throughflow. International Ocean Discovery Program. http://dx.doi.org/10.14379/​iodp.pr.356.2017

Renema, W., Pandolfi, J.M., Kiessling, W., Bosellini, F.R., Klaus, J.S., Korpanty, C., Rosen, B.R., Santodomingo, N., Wallace, C.C., Webster, J.M., Johnson, K.G., 2016. Are coral reefs victims of their own past success? Science Advances 2: e1500850.

Korpanty, C., Kelley, P., 2014. Molluscan live-dead agreement in anthropogenically stressed seagrass habitats: siliciclastic versus carbonate environments. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 410, 113 – 125.


Recent Conference Proceedings

Korpanty, C., Gischler, E., Pelletier, B., Welsh, K., Pandolfi, J.M., 2016, Biogeographic variability and ecological dynamics of Middle – Late Pleistocene reef corals. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 48 (7), doi: 10.1130/abs/2016AM-282430.

Korpanty, C., Potts, D., Pandolfi, J., Ecological assessment of a Late Miocene coral assemblage near Rowley Shoals, Roebuck Basin, Western Australia. Australian Earth Sciences Convention 2016. Abstract ID: 492.

Korpanty, C., Gischler, E., Cabioch, G., Pelletier, B., Payri, C., Butscher, J., Pandolfi, J., Ecological dynamics of reef corals across the Middle Pleistocene Climate Transition. International Coral Reef Symposium 2016. Abstract ID: 28287.

Renema, W., Pandolfi, J., Kiessling, W., Korpanty, C., Santodomingo, N., Wallace, C., Webster, J., Johnson, K., Are coral reefs victims of their own past success? International Coral Reef Symposium 2016. Abstract ID: 29241.



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