Introduction: Program 4

Program 4: Genetic, Molecular and Physiological Processes

Program Leader: Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

This diverse program draws on researchers across multiple nodes to understand coral reef organisms at a molecular and physiological level and to examine potential mechanisms of coral reefs for adaptation and acclimatization to environmental change. Genomics and microarray technologies will be integrated with physiological measurements and field experiments.

  • Biochemical analysis of coral-zooxanthellae interactions and coral bleaching. A key aim is improved understanding of the molecular relationship between symbiotic partners to predict responses to climate change and examine mechanisms for adaptation and acclimatization.
  • Coral diseases. The objective is to understand anthropogenic and climatic drivers of coral diseases, to develop strategies for control and reduction of their economic impacts.
  • Coral and zooxanthellae physiology, sublethal stress indicators and energetic modeling. These studies are providing novel tools for monitoring and predicting responses by corals to climate change and other stressors.
  • Genomics. Comparative genomics of corals and zooxanthellae will be used to establish for the first time the molecular basis for symbiosis and calcification, of critical importance for growth of corals and healthy reef development.

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