Bacterial community dynamics in Red Sea coral reefs in response to natural stressors

Bacterial community dynamics in Red Sea coral reefs in response to natural stressors

Internship Description

Corals play an integral part in the health of the oceans as ecosystem engineers, building highly diverse and large reef systems. However, rapid increases in natural and human-induced stressors mean that coral reefs are under more pressure than ever and are declining rapidly. Previous research has shown that the coral microbiome is a vital part of a healthy coral reef system. Bacterial associations and communities on corals are highly diverse and make up a crucial part of the coral microbiome. However, these coral bacterial communities and associations are not extensively studied in the Red Sea. Further investigation into the bacterial aspect of the coral microbiome is essential for the understanding of its role in the resilience, acclimatization and recovery of corals after disturbance events. The aim of this research is to investigate the spatio-temporal changes in bacterial communities in Red Sea coral reefs. This project will focus, among others, on the following research questions:
1. Is there a significant change in the composition of the coral microbiome between sites with contrasting bleaching levels or between sites experiencing different temperature ranges?
2. Are there significant changes in bacterial community composition before and after bleaching events or before, during and after heat stress periods? 

Deliverables/Expectations

The goal of this project is peer-reviewed publication with the student being the first author​

Faculty Name

Xose Anxelu G. Moran

Field of Study

Coral reef microbiology