Abstract: Competition is one of the factors shaping coral reef communities and the performance of the different coral species depends on their health. Understanding the genetic bases of competition and immunity is fundamental to predict the effects of climate change in coral interactions. The current shift of communities between soft and hard coral makes the competition of these two groups an important topic to be analysed. This research will focused on the gene expression and secondary metabolite production of the soft coral Lobophytum pauciflorum in competition and in an immune challenge; and the effects of ocean acidification on them.
Biography: Based in Townsville, Natalia Andrade is an Ecuadorian biologist studying her PhD on Molecular Science at James Cook University. She has been involved in coral-related research since 2010 when developed work on cospeciation and plasticity in the false cowries (Ovulidae: Neosimnia spp.) associated to the fan coral (Octocoralia: Pacifigorgia) in Equador. She studied and earned a bachelor degree with honours in Biological Sciences in the same country and obtained an Ecuadorian Government scholarship in order to continue with her postgraduate studies. Natalia keeps working on soft corals and is now involved on a research about competitive interactions, secondary metabolite production and immunology of the soft coral Lobophytum pauciflurum and the effects of ocean acidification on these processes.