Coral Immunology Research
Immune systems maintain health, resist infection and enable recovery from injury and are therefore vital for organism survival.
Corals are no exception.
The diverse suite of coral immune components play a role maintaining mutualistic relationships with algae, bacteria and other microbes, that provide necessary nutrients and serve diverse roles. The breakdown of these relationships can lead to coral bleaching, disease and often death.
Understanding how immune systems enable survival of extreme events will help direct conservation and reef restoration efforts.
We are looking at how coral immunity changes with seasons using field samples from Costa Rica.
Using the coral model organism, the anemone Exaiptasia pallida "Aiptasia", we are working to understand how anemones and corals can have robust immune systems while living with specific microbes, that are essential for health.
To do this, we are working in collaboration with the National Marine Aquarium and Ocean ConservationTrust.