Genomics and evolution of symbiont transmission in coral reefs (2019–2022)

Reef-building corals are sustained by symbiosis between the coral and the alga Symbiodinium. Corals acquire specific Symbiodinium via inheritance and/or from the environment. Breakdown of symbiosis under environmental stress leads to coral bleaching and death. This Project aims to understand how genomes of differently acquired Symbiodinium have evolved to support symbiosis with corals, through sequencing of algal genomes of Symbiodinium from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and free-living relatives. Genes that have been gained or lost, or are under adaptive selection will be identified. These genes, systems and functions are potential targets for new management strategies for protecting Australian coral reefs in the face of climate change.
Grant type:
ARC Discovery Projects
Funded by:
Australian Research Council