Hillary’s research is broadly focused on many aspects of coral biology and reef ecology, with the majority of her work taking a molecular approach to address questions around how coral reefs respond to global climate change. Her interests include investigating the microbial communities of healthy and stressed corals, the functional genomics behind holobiont adaptation, and gene expression in response to stress and disease.
Most recently, Hillary has been involved in developing and testing local scale reef restoration techniques on the Great Barrier Reef including macroalgae removal (“sea-weeding”) and coral larval enhancement (“coral IVF”) and investigating the ecosystem-wide effects of such techniques. This work is in partnership with Earthwatch Australia and incorporates citizen scientists, which allows a unique opportunity for science education and outreach.
Prior to her science career, Hillary completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and worked for several years in the arts. In addition to her scientific pursuits, she has a passion for creating conceptual scientific illustrations to bridge the gap between science and art, and to communicate complex scientific ideas with beautifully rendered images.