Yvonne is a marine benthic ecologist with a focus on coral reefs and seagrass meadows.  Her interests lie at the intersection of physiology, ecology and oceanography, addressing questions about the interaction of organisms and communities with their environment. Here, she mainly focuses on key metabolic processes, such as photosynthesis, respiration and calcification. These processes are (i) fundamental for organism functioning (carbon and energy budgets) and (ii) – on a community level - key drivers of carbon cycling within their ecosystem. More recently, Yvonne also started to explore the utility of novel geo-engineering technologies to mitigate coral bleaching.

Yvonne received her PhD from the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology/University of Bremen, Germany, where she studied the resilience of coral communities to natural and anthropogenic disturbances (2007-2011). Following this, she joined GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research (Kiel, Germany) where she accepted a postdoc position (2011-2013), followed by a role as a research scientist (2014-2016). At GEOMAR, Yvonne investigated coral adaptive mechanisms to strong latitudinal temperature and nutrient gradients in the Red Sea and seagrass thermal tolerance in the Baltic Sea. Sawall joint BIOS in June 2016 as a postdoc as part of the NASA project Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory [link], followed by a research fellow position (2019) and an assistant scientist position (since

Research Interests:
Coral physiology along environmental gradients including environmental extremes; effect of global climate-driven changes on corals and seagrass; coral and coral reef metabolism and carbon & energy budgets; seagrass ecophysiology; novel experimental in-situ instrumentation and approaches; coral bleaching mitigation strategies

Educational Background:
Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology/University of Bremen, Germany
-PhD Marine Ecology (2011)
University of Bremen, Germany
-MSc Aquatic Tropical Ecology (2006)

Further Information:
Sawall Lab - MABEE (Marine Benthic Ecology & Ecophysiology)

Selected Publications:
Saha M, Barboza FR, Somerfield PJ, Al-Janabi B, Beck M, Brakel M, Ito M, Pansch C, Nascimento-Schulze J, Jakobsson-Thor S, Weinberger F, Sawall Y (2019) Response of foundation macrophytes to near-natural simulated marine heatwaves. Global Change Biology doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14801

Sawall Y, Hochberg E (2018) Diel versus time-integrated (daily) photosynthesis and irradiance relationships of coral reef organisms and communities. PLoS ONE doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208607

Banguera-Hinestroza E, Sawall Y, Al-Sofyani A, Mardulyn P, Fuertes-Aguilar J, Cárdenas-Henao H, Jimenez-Infante F, Voolstra CR, Flot J-F (2018) mtDNA recombination indicative of hybridization suggests a role of the mitogenome in the adaptation of reef building corals to extreme environments. bioRxiv 462069; doi.org/10.1101/462069

Wahl M, Saderne V, Sawall Y (2016) How good are we at assessing ocean acidification impact in coastal systems? Limitations, omissions and strengths of commonly used experimental approaches with a special emphasis on the neglected role of fluctuations. Marine and Freshwater Research, doi.org/10.1071/MF14154 (review article)

Sawall Y, Al-Sofyani A (2015) Biology of Red Sea corals: Metabolism, reproduction, acclimatization, and adaptation. In: Rasul NMA, Stewart ICF (eds) The Red Sea. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Germany, pp 487-509 (book chapter)

Sawall Y, Al-Sofyani A, Hohn S, Banguera-Hinestroza E, Voolstra C, Wahl M (2015) Extensive phenotypic plasticity of a Red Sea coral over a strong latitudinal temperature gradient suggests limited acclimatization potential to warming. Scientific Reports 5:8940

Sawall Y, Al-Sofyani A, Banguera-Hinestroza E, Voolstra C (2014) Spatio-temporal analyses of zooxanthellae physiology of the coral Pocillopora verrucosa along large-scale nutrient and temperature gradients in the Red Sea. PLoS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0103179

Sawall Y, Khokiattiwong S, Jompa J, Richter C (2014) Calcification, photosynthesis and nutritional status of the hermatypic coral Porites lutea: contrasting case studies from Indonesia and Thailand. Galaxea, Journal of Coral Reef Studies 16:1-10

Seemann J, Sawall Y, Auel H, Richter C (2013) The use of lipids and fatty acids to measure the trophic plasticity of the coral Stylophora subseriata. Lipids 48:275-286

Sawall Y, Jompa J, Maddusila A, Richter C (2013) Coral recruitment and potential recovery of eutrophied and blast fishing impacted reefs in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 74:374-382