Improving coral thermal tolerance through association with acclimatized Symbionts

Improving coral thermal tolerance through association with acclimatized Symbionts

Internship Description

Corals have shown capable of coping with increasing temperatures; however strong inter-species and intra-species variation is evident. Different thermal tolerances between members of the same species have been attributed partially to the associated zooxanthellae. The Red Sea offers a unique environment to understand these associations as host and symbiont live in higher annual temperatures than counterparts elsewhere. Using the coral model organism Aiptasia pallida, a small anemone, we investigate whether Symbiodinium from anemones of the Red Sea can improve heat stress resilience of individuals from geographically distant locations. ​​

Deliverables/Expectations

 Bleaching and re-infecting anemones with different strains of Symbiodinium cultured in the lab
Quantification of phenotypic changes between host-symbiont combinations during and after heat stress exposure
RNA extraction and gene expression analysis of interesting and informative biomarkers
Perform further analysis on data obtained
Write a (short) manuscript of these analyses

Faculty Name

Manuel Aranda

Field of Study