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Dr. Ruth Gates

The Mother Of Assisted Evolution for Reefs

March 28, 1962 – October 25, 2018

Dr. Ruth Gates dedicated her life to saving the world’s reefs and training the next generation of reef scientists.

As an exceptional Marine Biologist and the first woman to become President of the International Society for Reef Studies, Dr. Ruth Gates focused primarily on corals, helping pioneer the reef-saving technique known as “assisted evolution.”

Dr. Ruth’s purpose was to treat every single coral polyp with unshakable respect. She aspired to understand the coral reefs essence and pursued solutions to save them, instead of swimming in circles on the problems they face. She took real action. 

As the director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Ruth began the “Super Coral” journey to speed up corals’ evolution and create a hopeful future for our reefs. This Super Coral process is what she called Assisted Evolution — a process where scientists manipulate environmental conditions to improve coral vitality. Dr. Gates’s urgent mission was to develop the super corals before corals vanish entirely from the reefs.  

The Gates Coral Lab at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology continues to actively test Assisted Evolution techniques on their mission to Save Our Reefs. 

She knew since she was 11 years old that she belonged to the ocean. She was known for her contagious joy and impeccable science

"The mission is to start solving the problem,
not just to study it."

Dr. Ruth Gates​