Research

Fundamentals of Cnidarian Microbe Symbioses

We examine how the host and symbionts recognise one another and maintain a functional cohabitation, how microbial communities vary in space and time, how they are transmitted from one host generation to the next, and the functional roles of host-associated microbes.

 

Engineering of Coral Photosymbionts

We use experimental evolution and gene technologies to enhance the thermal tolerance of the coral photosymbionts, Symbiodiniaceae, with the aim to increase the climate resilience of corals.

 

Coral Probiotics

We study the potential to augment the capacity of keystone coral taxa to tolerate stress through the manipulation of their associated prokaryotic communities, akin to probiotics in other animals.

 

Engineering Corals for Climate Resilience

We explore a range of approaches with the aim of enhancing coral climate resilience, including interspecific hybridisation followed by artificial selection, selective breeding and assisted gene flow, conditioning (epigenetic programming).

 

Symbiodiniaceae-bacterial symbioses

Funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (Blackall, van Oppen, Hinde and Brumley), we will study  Symbiodiniaceae (Breviolum minutum)-bacterial symbioses using Imaging (mass spectrometry imaging, fluorescence in situ hybridization via fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy and fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy) to explore bacterial localization, cellular heterogeneity, cell-to-cell signalling, and general chemical dynamics and Microfluidics (fluorescence microscopy and high-speed imaging to track and quantify the motion of fluorescently labelled bacteria) to interrogate bacterial responses to linear gradients of algal exudates.

Microbial Corrosion

Microbiologically influenced corrosion of metal surfaces in marine environments leads to corrosion rates of up to several millimetres per year. We use metagenomics to determine the corroding microbial community structure and their metabolic properties.