Line grew up near Roskilde in Denmark but moved to Townsville in the late 1990’s to live in the tropics and study coral reef ecology. In her current research Line uses genetic and genomic tools to examine the potential for acclimatisation and adaptation in corals to climate change. A facet of this research is to understand the environmental and genetic drivers of variation in coral growth observed among wild populations.
The persistence of coral dominated reef ecosystems in the face of climate change relies heavily on the ability of hard corals to increase their physiological tolerance through acclimatisation and adaptation. In this talk I will discuss aspects of my research that examines how corals use their genes, proteins and energetic content to respond to environmental variation. I will focus on field based reciprocal transplantation experiments of the genomic model coral species Acropora millepora. I explore the genetic and environmental sources of variation in growth, physiological condition (total protein, carbohydrate and lipid content, symbiont density) and gene expression among populations separated by 1.5 degrees of latitude. Additionally, I examine correlations among physiological and gene expression traits to identify the mechanisms that underpin the very large variation observed in coral growth on the GBR.