Dr. Kim Ritchie

Title: Senior Scientist; Program Manager — Marine Microbiology

Phone: 941-388-4441

Dr. Kim Ritchie is Senior Scientist and manager of the Marine Microbiology program at Mote Marine Laboratory. She has been studying microbes associated with corals and other coral reef organisms for 20 years.  She began her work as an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina, Aiken, where she studied disease and disease resistance in coral reef organisms.  She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in molecular genetics in 2000.  After graduate work Dr. Ritchie did Postdoctoral Research at the Smithsonian Institution in Panama under the direction of Harilaos Lessios, studying host range of a sea urchin pathogen, followed by postdoctoral work at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Dr. Ritchie then took a position as Senior Scientist at MicroGenomics, Inc., a company dedicated to the discovery of bioactive compounds from marine environments.  Dr. Ritchie began her work at Mote on coral microbiology, coral diseases and host resistance in 2004. Currently Dr Ritchie studies the role of beneficial microbes in corals. She collaborates with leaders in coral reef ecology worldwide and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal Coral Reefs. She is also a NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Acropora Recovery Plan Team Member, developing criteria for delisting threatened corals under the Endangered Species Act. She is on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and on the scientific advisory boards for the NOAA Undersea Research Center and the Florida Aquarium. Dr. Ritchie currently co-advises 4 graduate students from University of Florida and the University of South Florida, College of Marine Sciences and is Courtesy Faculty in the University of Florida’s Department of Soil and Water Sciences.


Ph.D. molecular genetics, University of North Carolina

B.S. Biology, University of South Carolina

  • Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2000
  • Hoechst Celanese Graduate Research Fellowship, 1994/1995
  • Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research, 1994 Annual Meeting of the SC Academy of Science
  • The Horace Byrne Award for best overall undergraduate paper, 1994 Annual Meeting of the SCAS
  • Outstanding Student of Biology, University of South Carolina at Aiken, 1994
  • The President’s Award for Undergraduate Research, 1993
  • Joint Meeting of the NC & SC Branches of The American Society for Microbiology
  • Chancellor’s Scholarship, 1993/1994
  • Biology Faculty Scholarship, 1993/1994
  • Westinghouse Science Education Research Scholarships, 1991/92 and 1992/1993
  • USC Aiken Honors Program, 1991-1994

Ritchie, KB (2011) Bacterial Symbionts of Corals and Symbiodinium. In: Beneficial Microorganisms in Multicellular Life Forms, Springer-Verlag (Berlin) E. Rosenberg and U Gophna (Eds) Chapter 9, pp 139-150

Alagely, A, CJ Krediet, KB Ritchie and M Teplitski (2011) Signalling-mediated cross-talk modulates swarming and biofilm formation in a coral pathogen Serratia marcescens. The ISME Journal ISME J 5: 1609-1620; advance online publication, April 21, 2011; doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.45

Ritchie, KB and GW Smith (2011) Susceptibility Of Echinoderms To Infection By Pseudoalteromonas haloplanktis subsp. Tetraodonis.  Pages 70-74, in Cipriano, RC, Bruckner, A, and Shchelkunov, IS, Eds. Aquatic Animal Health: A Continuing Dialogue Between Russia And The United States. Proceedingsof the Third Bilateral Conference Between the United States and Russia: Aquatic Animal Health 2009.

Daniels, CA, Zeifman A, Heym K, Ritchie KB, Watson, CA, Berzins I, and Breitbart M (2011) Spatial Heterogeneity of Bacterial Communities in the Mucus of  Montastraea annularis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 426: 29-40

McDaniel, LE, Young E, Delaney J, Ruhnau F., Ritchie KB, Paul JH (2010) High Frequency of Horizontal Gene Transfer in the Oceans. Science 330, 50

Sharp, KH, KB Ritchie, P Schupp, R Ritson-Williams, and VJ Paul (2010) Bacterial Acquisition by Gametes and Juveniles from Several Broadcast Spawning Coral Species. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10898. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010898

Mao-Jones J, Ritchie KB, Jones LE, Ellner SP (2010) How microbial community composition regulates coral disease development. PLoS Biol 2010 8(3):e1000345 Manuscript received Faculty of 1000 rating.

Eakin CM, Morgan JA, Heron SF, Smith TB, Liu G, et al. of 67 authors (2010) Caribbean Corals in Crisis: Record Thermal Stress, Bleaching, and Mortality in 2005. PLoS ONE 5(11): e13969. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013969

Teplitski, M and KB Ritchie (2009) How feasible is the biological control of coral disease? Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 24(7): 378-385.

Krediet,CJ,KB Ritchie, M Cohen, E Lipp, K Sutherland, and M Teplitski (2009) Utilization of mucus from the coral Acropora palmata by environmental and pathogenic isolates of Serratia marcescens.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75(12): 3851-3858.

Krediet, C, M. Teplitski, KB Ritchie. (2009) Catabolite control of enzyme induction and biofilm formation in a coral pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100. Dis Aquat Org. 87:57-66.

Ritchie, KB and BD Keller, eds. 2008. A Scientific Forum on the Gulf of Mexico: The Islands in the Stream Concept. Proceedings, 23 January 2008, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL. Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series NMSP-08-04. U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Sanctuary Program, Silver Spring, MD. 105 pp.

Ritchie, KB (2006) Regulation of marine microbes by coral mucus and mucus-associated bacteria. Marine Ecology Progress. 322: 1-14

Culter, JK, KB Ritchie, SA Earle, DE Guggenheim, RB Halley, KT Ciembronowicz, AC Hine, BD Jarret, WC Jaap (2006) Pulley Reef: a deep photosynthetic coral reef on the West Florida Shelf, USA Coral Reefs 25(2): 228

Ritchie, KB and GW Smith. (2004) Microbial Communities of Coral Surface Mucopolysaccharide Layers. In: Coral Health and Disease, Springer-Verlag (Berlin) E. Rosenberg and Y. Loya (Eds.) Chapter 14, pp 259

Sutherland, KP and KB Ritchie.  (2004) White pox disease of the Caribbean Elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. In: Coral Health and Disease, Springer-Verlag (Berlin) E. Rosenberg and Y. Loya (Eds.) Chapter 16, pp 289

Patterson, KL, JW Porter, KB Ritchie, GW Smith, SW Polson (2002). Etiology of white pox, a lethal disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmataProceedings of the National Academy Sciences USA 99(13): 8725-8730

Ritchie, KB, SW Polson & GW Smith (2001) Microbial Disease Causation in Marine Invertebrates:  Problems, Practices, and Future Prospects.  Hydrobiologia 460: 131-139

Ritchie, KB, I Nagelkerken, S James, GW Smith.  2000.  Identification of a Tetrodotoxin-Producing Pathogen of the Heart Urchin Meoma ventricosaNature 404: 354

Ritchie, KB and GW Smith (1998) "Type II White-Band Disease". Revista De Biologia Tropical 46 Supl. 5: 199-203.

Geiser, DM, JW Taylor, KB Ritchie, GW Smith.  1998.  Cause of sea fan death in the West Indies.  Nature 394: 137-138

Richardson, LL, WM Goldberg, KG Kuta, RB Aronson, GW Smith, KB Ritchie, JC Halas, JS Feingold, SL Miller (1998)  "Florida's mystery coral-killer identified".  Nature 392:557-558.

Ritchie, KB and GW Smith.  (1997)  "Physiological Comparisons of Bacteria from Various Species of Scleractinian Corals".  Proc 8th Intl Coral Reef Symposium. 1:521-526, 1997.

Smith, GW, LD Ives, IA Nagelkerken, KB Ritchie. (1996) Caribbean Sea-Fan Mortalities.  Nature 383, 487

Ritchie, KB and GW Smith.  (1995)  “Preferential carbon utilization by surface bacterial communities from water mass, normal, and white-band diseased Acropora cervicornis”Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology  4 (4), 345-352.

Ritchie, KB and GW Smith. (1995)  “Carbon-source utilization patterns of coral-associated marine heterotrophs”.  Journal of Marine Biotechnology  3:105-107. 

Department: Directorate of Marine Biology & Conservation

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Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.

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