| Accessibility Statement

William Fitt

Graduate Faculty
University of Georgia
Room 305, Biological Sciences Bldg.
Athens, GA 30602

Office: (706) 542-3328
Fax: (706) 542-3344
email: fitt@uga.edu

Dr. Fitt is also on the Conservation Ecology, Marine Sciences and Water Resources faculty.


Ph.D. - University of California, Santa Barbara

Research Interests

  • Climate change, ocean acidification
  • Seasonal changes in coral tissue and symbiotic alga parameters
  • Physiological and genotypic attributes of different zooxanthella-host holobionts
  • Bleaching of reef corals
  • Settlement and metamorphosis of larvae
  • Strobilation of scyphistomae of the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea

Research Projects

Our enduring objectives have been to understand fundamental aspects of symbiotic dinoflagellate (Symbiodinium) distribution, acquisition and functionality in their cnidarian (coral, jellyfish and anemone) and molluscan (giant clam) hosts. We employ molecular, genetic, biochemical and physiological techniques to resolve how genotypic and geographic differences influence the distribution, host-specificity, environmental specialization of these organisms. We also pursue how changing environmental factors correlate with recent onslaughts of bleaching and death in coral reefs, the biomass of corals and density/chlorophyll/photosynthetic efficiency of Symbiodinium, and the use of carbon by corals and Symbiodinium living inside of cnidarians.


Selected Publications

Fitt WK (2012) Why do corals grow in South Florida? In: Tropical Connections, eds Bill Kruczynski and Pamela Fletcher, pp. 192-194


Fitt, WK (2012) Bleaching of the fire corals Millipora. Proc Int Coral Reef Symp 9A.4:1-5

Kirk N, Thornhill DJ, Kemp DW, Fitt WK, Santos SR (2013) Persistent associationsbetween apicomplexan symbionts and Caribbean reef corals. Coral Reefs 32:847-858

Costa CF; Sassi R, Gelarch-Lira K, LaJeunesse TC, Fitt WK (2013) Seasonal changes in zooxanthellae harbored by Zoanthidea from coastal reefs in northeastern Brazil. Pan-American J. Aq. Sci. 8:243-264

João G. Monteiro, Cristiane F. Costa, Krystyna Gorlach-Lira, William K. Fitt, Sergio S.Stefani, Roberto Sassi, Ricardo S. Santos, Todd C. LaJeunesse (2013) Ecological and biogeographic implications of Siderastrea symbiotic relation with Symbiodinium sp. C46 in Sal Island (Cape Verde, East Atlantic Ocean). Marine Biodiversity 43:261-272

Kemp DW, Hernandez-Pech X, Iglesias-Prieto R, Fitt WK, Schmidt GW (2014) Community dynamics and physiology of Symbiodinium before, during, and after a coral  bleaching event. L&O (in press)

Mellas R, Fitt WK, Coffroth MA (2014) Symbiosis flexibility and the effects ofsymbiont type in the upside-down jellyfish, Cassiopea spp. JEMBE (in press)


William Fitt