Using the potential of native microbes to increase the resilience of coral outplants in the FL Keys
Partnering with scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory (Dr. Erinn Mueller and Dr. Emily Hall), we are exploring a diverse set of bacteria associated with disease-resistant and disease-sensitive genotypes of staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis that are used in restoration efforts. Our aim is to isolate, culture, and characterize as many of these microbes as possible and test their ability to increase the resilience of the coral host in the field.
Microbiome manipulation of corals
We are working to develop a protocol to manipulate the microbiome of corals in order to successfully add candidate BMCs to corals used in restoration efforts when outplanted back on the reef. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Grace Klinges at Mote Marine Laboratory
Thermal tolerance and acclimation of the coral holobiont
Corals and anemones lose their algal symbionts under thermal stress, yet some strains are inherently more or less thermally tolerant. These holobionts also appear to acclimate to changing environmental conditions and thus may be more resistant to future stress. We are interested in the mechanisms of this differential thermal tolerance and are working to uncover genes involved in the host and algal response to thermal stress. It is a goal to extend these studies to also look at the microbial community and its potential role affecting the thermal tolerance of the holobiont. This work is in collaboration with Dr. John Pringle at Stanford University. This work is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.