Program 3: Genomics and metagenomics of coral reefs
This cutting edge program, launched in 2009, is based around the structure and function of the genomes of corals, their dinoflagellate symbionts and associated bacterial communities – the ”holobiome”. The long-term aim of Program 8, in association with Program 4, is to understand how the “holobiome” functions under normal and stressed states. The key elements of this program in the immediate future are:
- Sequencing the coral genome and dinoflagellate transcriptome using the latest high-throughput molecular technologies.
- Identifying the genes and pathways of particular interest for functional analyses in the holobiont, enabling the application of genomic, biochemical and genetic approaches
- Applying large scale genomic approaches to better understand key biological traits of corals, including symbiosis, calcification and disease-induced mortality.
This program will provide unique perspectives on a range of important issues including coral disease, stress responses and the consequences of climate change. Ultimately it will improve our capacity to predict how whole reefs will respond to these environmental challenges.