Abstract: The association between the photosynthetic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium and corals has been known for many years. However, recent study has established that a number of other related alveolates are also intimately associated with corals including: the newly discovered chromerids (Chromera velia, Vitrella brassicaformis) and unidentified apicomplexans. Chromerids were isolated so far from corals in Australia, but the association of apicomplexans with corals was reported in the Caribbean and not yet on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) of Australia. Moreover, the nature of the chromerids and apicomplexans associations with corals is unknown. This study aims to use ecological genomics and next-gen DNA sequencing tools to provide the baseline knowledge on the bio-geographic distribution of chromerids and apicomplexans on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), their association with different coral hosts, and their role in coral health and disease. This study will also provide the analysis of the whole transcriptome response of the coral Acropora millepora following Chromera velia infection and measuring the differential gene expression profile.
Biography: Amin was born in Egypt where he completed his BSc in Zoology (excellent degree with honors) in 2006. He worked as a teaching assistant at Faculty of Science, Benha University, Egypt. As he developed a great interest in coral reef research, he did a Masters project on coral health and disease in the Egyptian Red Sea. This project provided baseline information on coral disease, coral bleaching, and other health issues that affect coral reefs in this region. Amin has been awarded a PhD scholarship from the Egyptian government. He is now a PhD student at David Miller’s lab, the ARC center of Excellence for coral reef studies, James Cook University. Amin’s PhD is supervised by Prof David Miller and Prof Bette Willis. His research focuses on studying the impact of newly discovered coral associated alveolates on coral health. Yet, the nature of these associations is unknown so it is unclear whether they have positive or negative impact on coral health.