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Increasing the fitness of coral juveniles through zooxanthellae density and assisted evolution

Research Overview

Scleractinian corals are reef-builders that rely on a mutualistic relationship with microalgal symbionts from the family Symbiodiniaceae to grow and survive. In response to the devastating impacts caused by global warming and coral bleaching, assisted evolution is used to accelerate naturally occurring processes that demonstrate promising active reef restoration strategies. Since coral holobiont heat-tolerance is partially determined by the symbiont strain, our aim is to determine if coral larvae and juveniles from different scleractinian species can acquire heat-selected symbionts that were adapted to bleaching temperatures in the laboratory.  My experiments will not only find the optimal density for the acquisition of symbionts for different coral species, but they will also give deeper insight for future restoration efforts and practitioners. 

Miranda S. Altice

Publications in Process

Chapter 1: The Uptake of Heat-Selected Symbionts and the Optimal Level of Infection

Chapter 2: Growth and Survival of Juveniles Infected with Heat-Selected Symbionts

Chapter 3: The Response to Bleaching Temperatures of Juveniles Infected with Heat-Selected Symbionts

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