Dr. Kim Ritchie

Kim_RitchieKim B. Ritchie, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Genetics and Prokaryotic Cell Biology
University of South Carolina Beaufort
Department of Natural Sciences
801 Carteret Street
Beaufort, SC 29906
Office: 843-521-4135
Email: kritch@uscb.edu


Marine Microbiology, Coral Reef Ecology, Host-Microbe interactions, and Beneficial Microbes.


Dr. Ritchie has studied microbes associated with corals and coral reef organisms for over 25 years. Her research interests include coral and coral invertebrate diseases, the influence of climate and oceanic pH changes on host-microbe dynamics, and the role of beneficial microbes in corals and other marine organisms.  Her current research also focuses on the role beneficial bacteria may play in wound healing in elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) and their potential as a source for novel antibiotics.


  • B.S. in Biology, University of South Carolina at Aiken (1994)
  • Ph.D. in Genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2000)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian (June - Sept 2000)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Sept - Jan 2001)


  • Microbiology
  • General Physiology
  • Biological Principles I & II
  • Bacteriology
  • Marine Policy
  • Coral Reef Ecology

Scientific Journals

  • Ritchie, KB (2020) Review of “Ocean Outbreak:  Confronting the Rising Tide of Marine Disease.” The Quarterly Review of Biology 95 (3): 260-261. 
  • Roitman, S, T López-Londoño, FJ Pollock, KB Ritchie, CT Galindo-Martínez, K Gómez-Campo, LA González-Guerrero, V Pizarro, M López-Victoria, R Iglesias-Prieto, M Medina (2020). Resiliency in marginalized reefs: assessing the implications of the microbiome on coral survivorship. Coral Reefs doi: 10.1007/s00338-020-01951-5  
  • Beatty DS, JM Valayil, CS Clements, KB Ritchie, FJ Stewart and ME Hay (2019) Variable effects of local management on coral defenses against a thermally regulated bleaching pathogen. Science Advances 5(10): eaay1048  DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay1048   
  • Hall, ER, E Muller, T Goulet, J Bellworthy, KB Ritchie and M Fine (2018) Eutrophication may compromise the resilience of the Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata to global change. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 131:701-711 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.04.067  
  • Braun, DR, MG Chevrette, D Acharya, CR Currie, SR Rajski, KB Ritchie, TS Bugni (2018) The Complete Genome of Dietzia sp. WMMA 184, a Marine Coral-associated Bacterium. Genome Announcements 6(5): e01582-17. Published online 2018 Feb 1. doi:  10.1128/genomeA.01582-17  
  • Muller EM, Leporacci NM, Macartney KJ, Shea AG, Crane RE, Hall ER, KB Ritchie (2017) Low pH reduces the virulence of black band disease on Orbicella faveolata. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0178869. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178869.   
  • Ritchie, KB, M Schwarz, J Mueller, V Lapacek, D Merselis, CJ Walsh, CA Luer (2017) Survey of antibiotic‐producing bacteria associated with the epidermal mucus layers of rays and skates. Frontiers in Microbiology 8:1050. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.01050  
  • Muller EM, Leporacci NM, Macartney KJ, Shea AG, Crane RE, Hall ER, et al. (2017) Low pH reduces the virulence of black band disease on Orbicella faveolata. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0178869. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178869.
  • Muller, E, M Fine, KB Ritchie (2016) The stable microbiome of inter and sub-tidal anemone species under increasing pCO2, 37387 (2016); Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 37387 doi:10.1038/srep37387.
  • Banc-Prandi, G, K Imhof, E. Hall, KB Ritchie (2016) Interspecific coral bacterial competition under ocean acidification scenarios. Proceedings of the International Coral Reef Symposium 58-70.
  • Meyer, Julie, BA Dillard, JM Rodgers, KB Ritchie, VJ Paul and M Teplitski (2015) Draft genome sequence of Halomonas meridiana R1t3 isolated from the surface microbiota of the Caribbean Elkhorn coral Acropora palmata. Standards in Genomic Sciences.  DOI:10.1186/s40793-015-0069-y.
  • Sharp, KH, JM Sneed, KB Ritchie, L McDaniel, and VJ Paul (2015) Induction of larval settlement in the reef coral Porites astreoides by a cultivated marine Roseobacter strain. The Biological Bulletin 228(2): 98-107
  • Zaragoza W, C Krediet, JL Meyer, G Canas, KB Ritchie, M Teplitski (2014) Outcomes of infections of a sea anemone Aiptasia pallida with Vibrio spp pathogenic to corals. Microbial Ecology DOI: 10.1007/s00248-014-0397-2.
  • Sneed, J, KH Sharp, K Ritchie, VJ Paul (2014) The chemical cue tetrabromopyrrole from a biofilm bacterium induces settlement of multiple Caribbean corals. Proceedings of the Royal Academy B pii: 20133086. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.3086.
  • Frydenborg, BR, CJ Krediet, M Teplitski, KB Ritchie (2014) Temperature-Dependent Inhibition of Opportunisic Vibrio Pathogens by Native Coral Commensal Bacteria. Environmental Microbiology. DOI:10.1007/s00248-013-0334-9DOI:10.1007/s00248-013-0334-9.
  • Krediet CJ, JL Meyer, N Gimbrone, R Yanong, I Berzins, A Algely, H Castro, KB Ritchie, VJ Paul, M Teplitski (2014) Interactions between the tropical sea anemone Aiptasia pallida and Serratia marscescens, and opportunistic pathogen of corals. Environmental Microbiology Reports DOI 10.1111/1758-2229.12151.
  • Krediet, C, KB Ritchie, VJ Paul, M Teplitski (2013) Coral-associated micro-organisms and their roles in promoting coral health and thwarting diseases.  Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Science. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.2328.
  • Goodbody Gringley, G, D Wetzel, D Gillon, E Pulster, A Miller and KB Ritchie (2013) Toxicity of Deepwater Horizon source oil and the chemical dispersant, Corexit® 9500, to coral larvae. PLoS ONE 8(1): e45574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045574.
  • Krediet, C, KB Ritchie, M Teplitski (2012) Characterization of the gacA-dependent behaviors in an opportunistic coral pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100. FEMS Microbial Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1574-6941.12064.
  • Krediet , C, KB Ritchie, A Alagely, M Teplitski (2012) Members of native coral microbiota inhibit glycosidases and thwart colonization of coral mucus by an opportunistic pathogen. The ISME Journal, 1-11. DOI:10.1038/ismej.2012.164.
  • Sharp, K and KB Ritchie (2012) Multi-partner interactions in corals in the face of climate change. Biological Bulletin 223: 66-77. 
  • McDaniel, LD, EC Young, KB Ritchie, JH Paul (2012) Environmental Factors Influencing Gene Transfer Agent (GTA) Mediated Transduction in the Subtropical Ocean. PLoS ONE. 7(8): e43506.
  • Alagely, A, CJ Krediet, KB Ritchie and M Teplitski (2011) Signaling-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. Proceedings of 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.
  • Krediet, C, M Teplitski, KB Ritchie. (2009) Catabolite control of enzyme induction and biofilm formation in a coral pathogen Serratia marcescens PDL100. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 87:57-66.
  • 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.
  • Teplitski, M and KB Ritchie (2009) How Feasible is the Biological Control of Coral Disease?  Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 24(7): 378-385.
  • Weil, E, KB Ritchie, A Croquer, JR Cunning, and GW Smith (2009) Inoculation of Vibrio spp. onto Montastraea faveolata fragments to determine potential pathogenicity.  Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium. 7:202-205.
  • Cunning, JR, JE Thurmond, GW Smith, E Weil, and KB Ritchie (2009) A survey of vibrios associated with healthy and Yellow Band Diseased Montastraea faveolata. Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium. 7:206-210.
  • 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 Series. Feature Article. 322: 1-14.
  • JK Culter, KB Ritchie, S.A. Earle, D.E. Guggenheim, R.B. Halley, K.T. Ciembronowicz, A.C. Hine, B.D. Jarret, W.C. Jaap (2006) Pulley Reef: a deep photosynthetic coral reef on the West Florida Shelf, USA Coral Reefs 25(2): 228.
  • Garrison, VH, EA Shinn, WT Foreman, RD Griffin, C Holmes, CA Kellogg, MS Majewski, L Richardson, KB Ritchie, GW Smith (2003) African and Asian dust: from desert soil to coral reef. BioScience 53(5): 469-480.
  • Patterson, KL, JW Porter, KB Ritchie, GW Smith, SW Polson (2002). Etiology of white pox, a lethal disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 99(13): 8725-8730.
  • Ritchie, KB, SW Polson, and GW Smith (2001) Microbial Disease Causation in Marine Invertebrates:  Problems, Practices, and Future Prospects.  Hydrobiologia 460: 131-139.
  • Laurie L. Richardson, Garriet W. Smith, Kim B. Ritchie and Richard G. Carlton (2001).  Integrating Microbiological, Microsensor, Molecular, and Physiologic Techniques in the Study of Coral Disease Etiology.  Hydrobiologia 460: 140-149.
  • Ritchie, KB and TD Petes (2000).  The Rad50/Mrell/Xrs2 protein complex and the Tel1p are in a single pathway for telomere maintenance.  Genetics 155: 475-479.
  • Ritchie, KB, I Nagelkerken, S James and GW Smith (2000) Identification of a Tetrodotoxin-Producing Pathogen of the Heart Urchin Meoma ventricosa.  Nature 404 (6776): 354.
  • Ritchie, KB, J Mallory, and TD Petes (1999) Interactions of telomerase, TEL1, and MEC1 in regulating telomere length in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae".  Molecular and Cellular Biology 19 (9): 6065-6075.
  • Ritchie, KB and GW Smith (1998) Type II White-Band Disease. Revista De Biologia Tropical 46 Suppl. 5: 199-203.
  • Geiser DM, JW Taylor, KB Ritchie, and 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.  Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium for Reef Studies. 1:521-526, 1997.
  • Smith, GW, LD Ives, IA Nagelkerken and KB Ritchie (1996) Caribbean Sea-Fan Mortalities.  Nature 383, 487.
  • Porter, SE, PW Greenwell, KB Ritchie and TD Petes (1996) The DNA-binding protein Hdf1p (a putative Ku homolog) is required for maintaining normal telomere length in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Nucleic Acids Research 24 (4), 582-585.
  • 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 3:105-10.

Book Chapters

  • Teplitski M, Krediet CJ, Meyer JL, Ritchie KB (2016) Microbial interactions on coral surfaces and within the coral holobiont. In: The Cnidaria, past, present and future. The world of Medusa and her sisters.  Goffredo and Dubinsky (Eds) Springer.   ISBN 978-3-319-31305-4Dubinsky (Eds) Springer.   ISBN 978-3-319-31305-4.
  • Ritchie, KB (2013) Microbial Communities in Coral Health and Disease. In: Choffnes, Olsen and Wizemann (Eds). Forum on Microbial Threats Board on Global Health. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences. The National Academies Press (Washington DC), p54-58.
  • Ritchie, KB (2012) Microbial communities are important to corals.  In: Kruczynski, W.L. and Fletcher, P.J. (Eds), Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment. IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, p. 222.
  • 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.
  • 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 13, pp 259-263.
  • KP Sutherland 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 pp. 289-297.