This episode of You’re the Expert is brought to you from Caveat in New York City. Our expert this week is Alicia Pérez-Porro, a zoologist and expert on sea sponges.

About Dr. Pérez-Porro:

Dr. Pérez-Porro is a research associate at the Museum of Natural History. She received her PhD from the Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes in Spain. Dr. Pérez-Porro first began researching sponge and sponge reproduction while she was studying in Costa Rica. Since then, she has investigated the impact of climate change on marine sponges. Dr. Pérez-Porro uses genomic devices to understand how sponges react to climate change and uses this information to measure any potential evolutionary responses.

Dr. Pérez-Porro

Dr. Pérez-Porro

Why it Matters:

Dr. Pérez-Porro is an advocate of ocean conservation, and has spent a great deal of time understand how a warming ocean can impact the viability of sponges. Evidence shows that rising ocean temperatures hinder sea sponges’ ability to reproduce, and Dr. Pérez-Porro is studying the sea sponge genome to understand why that might be.

Not only is Dr. Pérez-Porro working to combat climate change, she’s also fighting sexism in the science community. She’s a member of Homeward Bound, a leadership group for women who study climate change to increase their role in creating policy and increasing awareness.


Further reading:

Dr. Pérez-Porro’s doctoral dissertation: Transcriptomics along a sponge life cycle:

A NGS approach to the encrusting Mediterranean sponge Crella elegans (Porifera, Demospongiae, Poecilosclerida): transcriptome sequencing, characterization and overview of the gene expression along three life cycle stages:

Follow Alicia:



About Homeward Bound:

AuthorEileen Klomhaus