Dr. Monica Medina
Penn State University
“Comparative metatranscriptomes reveal the adaptive potential of coral holobionts under thermal stress”
Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 4:00 P.M.
Charles G. Miller Auditorium
Abstract: Elevated sea surface temperatures pose a threat for coral reefs. Evaluating adaptive potential becomes increasingly important under the threat of climate change. Using a phylogentic framework, we have performed a controlled bleaching experiment on three different coral species. Through a comparative metatranscriptome analysis, we uncovered genes that have maintained conserved expression over evolutionary time that may have undergone expression level adaptation. Our analyses reveal both host and algal gene candidates with a potential adaptive expression involved in key metabolic functions such as protein processing, vesicle mediated transport, apoptosis, carbon concentration mechanisms, cell division and chlorophyll biosynthesis. In addition, we observed that coexistent coral holobiont microbial associates display different responses and metabolic capabilities under high temperature stress. We find that each member has a unique response that can influence the holobiont’s ability to cope with thermal stress. Thermotolerance may be explained the redundancy and the maintenance of key metabolic pathways from different microbial partners. These microbial functional contributions to coral holobionts can have conspicuous evolutionary and ecological outcomes under climate change.
Coffee and cookies will be served in the atrium outside the auditorium beginning at 3:30 p.m.