• Craig Tepper

    Craig Tepper

    Professor of Biology

Biographical Sketch

I teach courses that contribute to both the Biology and Biochemistry/Molecular Biology majors at Cornell College. These courses include Foundations: Cellular Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics, and a Biological Problems course taught at the Gerace Research Centre on San Salvador, The Bahamas or the International Zoological Expedition’s field station on South Water Caye, Belize. Student researchers in my lab are investigating the effects of thermal stress on  fire coral (bleaching), so named because of their painful sting. These corals are one of the most common skeleton-forming animals found in Caribbean reef ecosystems. My students are using molecular genetic tools to investigate the diversity and distribution of the partnership between fire coral and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates called Symbiodinium.  We are also investigating the presence of these photosynthetic symbionts living in the cells of a photo-negative intertidal snail (nerites).  We are using qPCR to monitor the expression of photosynthetic-specific genes.

Academic History

  • Ph.D. in Molecular Plant Pathology, Utah State University, 1987
  • M.S. in Zoology, San Diego State University, 1979
  • B.A. in Aquatic Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1977

Curriculum Vitae and Personal Web Page


  • Phenotypic Plasticity in the Fire Coral Millepora
  • Symbiodinium in Millepores
  • Symbiodinium in photonegative gastropods


Recent Publications: (* Indicates Cornell student author)

Squiers*, L., Hay*, C., Gorbach*, D., Friend*, D. Black, B., Greenstein, B., Strychar, K. and  Tepper, C. 2011.  Cryptic speciation: A mismatch between genetics and morphology in Millepora. Proceedings of the 13th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas. 13:8-19.

Tepper, C., Squiers*, L. Hay*, C. Gorbach*, D., Friend*, D. Black, B., Greenstein, B., Strychar, K. 2012. Cryptic Species: A Mismatch between Genetics and Morphology in Millepora. Marine Sciences. 2(5):57-65.

Gaynor*, S., Hay*, C. and Tepper, C. 2013. Cryptic Species or Intragenomic Variation: Implications for the Millepores.  Proceedings of the 14th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas. 14: 13-25.

Tepper, CS and Gaynor*, SC. 2015. Ribosomal Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) DNA Variation in Millepora. Marine Science Research & Development. 6:177. doi: 10.4172/2155-9910.1000177.

Samayoa*, A., Reyes*, S., Bou-Karim*, Y. Roge-Jones*, L., Rueth*, M. and Tepper C. 2017. Patterns of Millepore-Symbiodinium Associations at Two Caribbean Locations: San Salvador, The Bahamas and South Water Cay, Belize. Proceedings of the First Joint Natural History and Geology Symposium. 1:59-70.

Schwiesow*, M.W., Samayoa*, A.M. Torres*, J., Leimbach*, A., Santiago-Rivera*, G. and Tepper, C.S. 2021. Symbiodinium Distribution Patterns in Millepores in the Caribbean: South Water Cay, Belize and San Salvador, The Bahamas. Marine Science 9(1):

Edited Proceedings Volume

Proceedings of the 14th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas. 2013. Edited by C. Tepper & R. Shaklee Gerace Research Centre, San Salvador, Bahamas.  


  • Grants for Cornell Research

Courses Taught

  • Foundations: Cellular Biology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Advanced Molecular Biology
  • Biological Problems in Belize and The Bahamas

Academic Awards, Honors and Professional Activity

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Plant-Microbe Interatctions, 1987-1989
  • Visiting Research Scientist, National Cancer Institute (NIH), 1995-1996
  • Ringer Distinguished Professor, 2007-2010
  • Conference Co-Chair, 14th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas, 2011
  • Research Review Committee – Gerace Research Centre, San Salvador, Bahamas. 2011-present