Rhian Waller, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone: 207.563.8310

Email: rhian.waller@maine.edu

Darling Marine Center
193 Clarks Cove Road
Walpole, ME  04573


Ph.D. Southampton Oceanography Center, UK, 2004


Invertebrate reproduction and larval development, deep-sea biology, cold-water corals, biogeography, larval dispersal and population connectivity

Research interests

My research interests center on the reproduction and development of cold-water and deep-sea invertebrates from around the globe, and how these animals are affected by both natural and anthropogenic environmental change. My laboratory has projects from the Arctic to the Antarctic and many places in between. Though we primarily use microscopy techniques (histology, SEM and TEM) we also use geographic databases and genetic techniques to examine biogeographic patterns of species dispersal and make hypotheses on larval transport mechanisms. I welcome requests from undergraduates seeking laboratory experience, as well as students thinking about graduate school.

Current Projects

  • Biogeography of cold-water corals across the Drake Passage, Antarctica
  • Alaskan Red Tree coral reproduction
  • Reproduction of Antarctic deep-water cnidarians
  • Cold water coral habitats in the Gulf of Maine
  • Reproduction of deep-sea corals from the US West Coast Marine Sanctuaries


  • Wagner D, Waller RG, Montgomery AD, Kelley CD & Toonen RJ (2012). Sexual reproduction of the Hawaiian black coral Antipathes griggi (Cnidaria: Antipatharia). Coral Reefs DOI: 10.1007/s00338-012-0882-3.For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Bayer, S; Mullineaux, LS; Waller, RG & Solow AR (2010) Reproductive traits of pioneer gastropod species colonizing deep-sea hydrothermal vents after an eruption. Marine Biology, DOI: 10.1007/s00227-010-1550-1For more information: Full Text or Download file (PDF)
  • Waller, RG & Tyler, PA (2011) Reproductive patterns in two deep-water solitary corals from the North-east Atlantic—Flabellum alabastrum and F. angulare (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Scleractinia). Journal of the Marine Biological Association, UKFor more information: Full Text or Download file (PDF)
  • Morrison CL, Ross SW, Nizinski MS, Brooke S, Jarnegren J, Waller RG, Johnson RL, King TL (2011) Genetic discontinuity among regional populations of Lophelia pertusa in the North Atlantic Ocean. Conservation GeneticsFor more information: Full Text or Download file (PDF)
  • Padilla-Gamino, JL; Weatherby, TM; Waller, RG; Gates, RD (2011) Formation and structural organization of the egg-sperm bundle of the scleractinian coral Montipora capitata. Coral ReefsFor more information: Full Text or Download file ( (2011) FORMATION STRUCTURAL ORGANIZATION OF THE EGG-SPERM BUNDLE OF THE SCLERA)
  • Waller, RG; Scanlon, KM; Robinson, LF (2011) Cold-water coral distributions from towed camera observations – initial interpretations. PLoSONE 6(1): e16153. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016153For more information: Full Text
  • Waller, RG; Robinson, LF (2011) Southern Ocean Corals: Cabo de Hornos. Coral Reefs, 31(1): 205For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Scanlon, KM; Waller, RG; Sirotek, A; Knisel, JM & Alesandrini, SM. (2010) USGS Cold-Water Coral Geographic Database – Gulf of Mexico and Western North Atlantic, Version 1.0. USGS Open File ReportFor more information: Full Text
  • Waller, RG, Tyler, PA & Smith, C. (2008) Fecundity and embryo development of three Antarctic deep-water scleractinians: Flabellum thouarsii, F. curvatum and F. impensum. Deep-Sea Research II, 55, 2527-2534For more information: Full Text
  • Flint, H, Waller, RG & Tyler, PA. (2007) Reproduction in Fungiacyathus marenzelleri from the northeast Pacific Ocean. Marine Biology, 151(3), 843-849For more information: Full Text
  • Waller, RG, Adkins, J, Robinson, L & Shank, TM. (2007) Ancient DNA techniques and their utility in deep-water coral research. Bulletin of Marine Science, 81(3): 351-359For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Robinson, LF, Adkins, JF, Scheirer; DS, Fernandez, DF, Gagnon, A & Waller RG (2007) Deep-sea scleractinian coral age and depth distributions in the NW Atlantic for the last 225 thousand years. Bulletin of Marine Science, 81(3): 371-391For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Waller, RG & Baco-Taylor, A (2007) Reproductive morphology of three Hawaiian deep-water precious corals. Bulletin of Marine Science, 81(3): 533-542For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Waller, RG, Watling, L, Auster, P & Shank, TM. (2007) Fishing Impacts on the Corner Rise Seamounts. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, UK, 87: 1075-1076For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Waller, RG. (2005) Deep Water Scleractinians: Current knowledge of reproductive processes. In: Freiwald A & Roberts JM (eds) Cold-water Corals and Ecosystems. Springer, Heidelberg, 691-700For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Waller, RG & Tyler PA. (2005) The reproductive biology of two deep-sea, reef-building scleractinians from the NE Atlantic Ocean. Coral Reefs, 24(3), 514-522For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Waller, RG, Tyler, PA & Gage, JD. (2005) Sexual reproduction of three deep water Caryophyllia (Anthozoa: Scleractinia) species from the NE Atlantic Ocean. Coral Reefs, 24(4), 594-602For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Waller, RG, Tyler, PA & Gage JD. (2002) The reproductive ecology of the deep-sea solitary coral Fungiacyathus marenzelleri (Scleractinia) in the NE Atlantic Ocean. Coral Reefs, 21(4), 325-331For more information: Download file (PDF)
  • Wagner D, Waller RG, Toonen RJ (2011) Sexual reproduction of Hawaiian black corals, with a review of reproductive processes within the order Antipatharia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia). Invertebrate Biology


  • 2005 to 2007 — $124,659.00 — Stepping Stones Across the Atlantic: Exploring Pathways and Barriers to the Dispersal and Evolution of Deep-Sea Corals and Associated Fauna from NOAA Ocean Exploration
  • 2005 to 2006 — $97,779.00 — New Molecular Tools to examine Paleo-phylogeographic Responses to Climate Change: Ancient Coral Migrations in the North Atlantic from WHOI Ocean Life and Ocean Climate Change Institutes
  • 2005 to 2007 — $50,000.00 — Marine Habitat Studies from United States Geological Survey
  • 2006 to 2009 — $216,625.00 — Collaborative Research: Stepping Stones Across the Atlantic: Co-evolution and Dispersal of Deep-Water Corals and Their Associates on NW Atlantic Seamounts from NSF Biological Oceanography
  • 2006 to 2006 — $5,000.00 — Establishing Collaborations with La Fundación Huinay, Chile from WHOI Mary Sears
  • 2007 to 2011 — $207,221.00 — Paleogenetics of Pleistocene Deep-Water Corals from the Mediterranean Sea: The Rise and Fall of Coral Populations within the Basin from NSF Biological Oceanography
  • 2007 to 2009 — $441,543.00 — Glacial Radiocarbon Constraints from Drake Passage Deep-Sea Corals from NSF Polar Programs
  • 2009 to 2009 — $10,000.00 — Biogeography of Deep-Sea Corals from Drake Passage seamounts from Census of Marine Life for Seamounts
  • 2010 to 2012 — $490,199.00 — Collaborative Research: Historic perspectives on climate and biogeography from deep-sea corals in the Drake Passage from NSF Polar Programs
  • 2010 to 2011 — $24,804.00 — Reproductive ecology of the red tree coral (Primnoa pacifica) from NOAA/NMFS
  • 2010 to 2011 — $13,000.00 — Reproduction in Red Tree Coral from National Geographic/Waitt Foundation