Jonathan Sarfati chats with CMI’s marine biologist and geneticist Dr Robert Carter

Dr Carter obtained a BS in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992. He then spent four years teaching high school biology, chemistry, physics and electronics before going to the University of Miami to obtain his PhD in Marine Biology. He successfully completed this program in 2003 with a dissertation on “Cnidarian Fluorescent Proteins”. While in Miami, he studied the genetics of pigmentation in corals and other invertebrates, designed and built an aquaculture facility for Caribbean corals, performed well over 500 SCUBA dives, and licensed a spin-off product of his research (a patented fluorescent protein) to a biotech company. Since 2006, Rob has been a speaker and writer with CMI-US, while also researching genetics with Dr John Sanford.

Dr Carter has had a varied career in science, including both teaching and research. In fact, Rob says that he was almost born into it; he was interested in science from an early age and was clearly gifted in it more than in other subjects.

At university, Dr Carter researched corals. He describes them as “amazing,” and explains:

“They live in every ocean, from the surface to at least 2,000 meters (1.2 miles).1 Some have skeletons; some do not. Most of those living in clear, warm, shallow water have algae living inside them. So they are both fierce, carnivorous predators (at least to the little critters that happen to be swept into their tentacles), and photosynthetic—they can make food from light energy, water and carbon dioxide, like plants.”

He researched one particularly interesting feature—fluorescence, whereby almost every coral species will glow green, orange or red under blue or ultraviolet light. Amazingly, even deep water species living in total darkness have a set of fluorescent proteins….

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