Matthew Tietbohl

Ph.D. Students

Research Interests

Born in Charlottesville, Virginia and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Matt first discovered his love for the ocean on a high school trip to St. Anne's Bay, Jamaica; here Matt was first introduced to the challenge of collecting and identifying marine organisms - something that still fascinates him today.  He went on to pursue a BS degree in Biology from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.  Matt furthered his love for the ocean, marine life, and conservation in college by studying in Sicily, the Turks & Caicos Islands, and by taking a coral reef biology class which included a field excursion to Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize which he helped teach his senior year. Matt has also spent two summers taking classes and researching at Friday Harbor (Marine) Laboratory in the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest where he discovered a love for silly-looking, sticky fish.

Matt made the journey over the pond to KAUST for his MSc degree, where he worked in the Reef Ecology Lab studying the functional diversity of herbivorous fishes using stable isotopes; he found there appears to be a higher level of functional diversity within these fishes despite some presumed similarities between them. For his PhD research, Matt looks to further investigate function diversity of coral reef organisms using this technique, though he maintains strong interests in fisheries, marine protected areas, and coral reef ecosystem dynamics.

Science communication and interaction with other non-scientists is a big part of who Matt is as a graduate student. He is a member of the Communications Committee for the Society for Conservation Biology Marine Division where he helps to promote #OceanOptimism and awareness of conservation issues in the marine environment.  Matt is also an active tweeter of all things marine biology related (find him @WhyOceansMATTer​).  Matt also enjoys talking to students in classroom settings about marine science and conservation and revels in time spent with students in the ocean, as this is what started him on the path he strides today.

In his spare time he enjoys reading, podcasts, exploring, diving, and #nightlighting among other things. Please feel free to get in touch with Matt for any interesting book/podcast listening advice or questions related to his research or coral reef ecology in general!​