Presentation Title

Transcriptional changes in the Alcyonacean octocoral Sympodium sp. in response to photo and thermal stress

Presenter Information

Adam Y. He, Pomona CollegeFollow

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

Surge 171

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

Worldwide, coral reefs are being threatened by coral bleaching, a potentially lethal breakdown of the relationship between corals and photosynthetic endosymbionts that occurs in response to environmental stressors. Despite much research on bleaching in scleractinian (reef-building) corals and the model organism Aiptasia, a sea anenome, our understanding of bleaching in octocorals (soft corals and sea fans) is limited. Moreover, colony dynamics that are believed to play an important role in determining resilience to bleaching are not captured by the study of Aiptasia, which grows as individual polyps. To resolve this, we have sequenced and assembled the metatranscriptome of the octocoral Sympodium sp., which grows readily in aquarium conditions, and its endosymbionts at key time points in the bleaching process. We have identified differentially expressed genes and are working on gene annotation and enrichment analyses. The identification of genes differentially expressed during the process of bleaching will allow for a comparison of the transcriptional response to bleaching of this potential new model organism to those of scleractinians and Aiptasia. These results will also aid in understanding the varied responses to thermal stress found in other octocorals.

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Nov 12th, 2:45 PM Nov 12th, 3:00 PM

Transcriptional changes in the Alcyonacean octocoral Sympodium sp. in response to photo and thermal stress

Surge 171

Worldwide, coral reefs are being threatened by coral bleaching, a potentially lethal breakdown of the relationship between corals and photosynthetic endosymbionts that occurs in response to environmental stressors. Despite much research on bleaching in scleractinian (reef-building) corals and the model organism Aiptasia, a sea anenome, our understanding of bleaching in octocorals (soft corals and sea fans) is limited. Moreover, colony dynamics that are believed to play an important role in determining resilience to bleaching are not captured by the study of Aiptasia, which grows as individual polyps. To resolve this, we have sequenced and assembled the metatranscriptome of the octocoral Sympodium sp., which grows readily in aquarium conditions, and its endosymbionts at key time points in the bleaching process. We have identified differentially expressed genes and are working on gene annotation and enrichment analyses. The identification of genes differentially expressed during the process of bleaching will allow for a comparison of the transcriptional response to bleaching of this potential new model organism to those of scleractinians and Aiptasia. These results will also aid in understanding the varied responses to thermal stress found in other octocorals.