Chris’s expertise is in coral reef genomics, and he is using comparative genomic, ecological, and evolutionary approaches to develop an integrative framework to understand the significance of the coral holobiont. In collaboration with the Red Sea Research Centre, his group is currently establishing a coral reef monitoring station to study the seasonal changes associated with coral reef health and disease states. The project aims to understand ecosystem phenotypes by elucidating ecosystems from microbial community structure to physical oceanographic parameters. Since he assumed his duties at KAUST in August 2009, Christian has published 28 papers and has been awarded four grants with a total funding line of over $2M. He has set up the Coral Reef Ecological Genomics Laboratory at KAUST and is also involved in multi-national collaborations such as with the University of Cambridge and the Centre Scientifique Monaco to sequence a coral and algal symbiont genome.
A central focus of research in my laboratory deals with the use of molecular and genomic techniques to study marine environments, how the organisms that inhabit them evolved, and how physical and biological interactions have shaped their life history. In this seminar I will talk about recent and current projects including transcriptome-wide signatures of UVR stress in Montastraea faveolata, transcription factor networks in Acropora millepora, an integrative coral reef monitoring approach, and the sequencing of a coral and symbiont genome.