This experiment is part of the SCIENCE ENGINE Challenge Grant. Browse more projects

Characterizing the resilience of coral reefs and island people

$5,575
Raised of $10,000 Goal
56%
Ended on 3/28/22
Campaign Ended
  • $5,575
    pledged
  • 56%
    funded
  • Finished
    on 3/28/22

About This Project

Corals are one of the most important keystone species on the planet and greatly depend on the microbes in their mucus for survival. This study will test the hypothesis that the microbial community within coral mucus exhibits physicochemical responses during heavy sedimentation events. More specifically, coral reefs that can maintain their steady-state surface layer mucus microbiome will exhibit less signs of physiological stress.

Ask the Scientists

Join The Discussion

What is the context of this research?

Microbiome research, the study of microbial communities within a system, is quickly transforming the way we interpret medicine, manage commerce and understand the environment. Metabolomic research, the study of specialized molecules and their functions, is a rapidly emerging field that allows researchers to interpret chemical shifts within and between systems. Previous research suggest that heavy land runoff is detrimental to coral health, but the corals in Hilo appear to be thriving while experiencing land runoff. Essentially no studies have combined microbiome and metabolome research to investigate the influence of land runoff on coral systems. We hope to study how the unique microbe and molecules of Hilo corals make them so special and resilient.

What is the significance of this project?

Although land runoff greatly threatens coral reef ecosystems, the microbial effects of sedimentation on coral mucus remain unexplored. There is a critical need to implement next-generation analytical tools such as microbiome and metabolome research to better understand the microbial dynamics associated with host survival and their associated mucus. This proposal specifically aims to identify key molecular shifts that lead to host death after sedimentation and also introduce structure-from-motion photogrammetry to characterize nonlethal host responses after environmental disturbances. Methods developed in the basic research serves as a powerful multi-omic profiling tool that can be implemented to other biological systems.

What are the goals of the project?

This study will test the hypothesis that the microbial community within coral mucus exhibits physicochemical responses during heavy sedimentation events. More specifically, coral reefs that can maintain their steady-state surface layer mucus microbiome will exhibit less signs of physiological stress. We plan to dive and collect mucus samples of the coral before, during and after a heavy rain event to understand how the runoff changes the molecular and microbial composition of the reef.

Budget

Please wait...

16s rRNA samples will be collected and processed at a core facility. These samples will then be processed and analyzed through multivariate statistical tests. By identifying molecular trends that surround coral sedimentation events, a better understanding of coral resilience can be achieved. These findings will then be compared and contrasted to social resilience examples found in the surrounding human communities.

Endorsed by

Cliff is at the nexus of integrating cutting-edge microbiome research into projects aimed at protecting both the ocean and the people that depend on marine resources. This project will be highly valuable for improving our understanding of corals, but more importantly, it will set an example of how to transcend conventional research and conduct science with meaning and purpose to improve our planet.

Flag iconProject Timeline

Jan 2022- finish collecting mucus samples after heavy rain event.

March 2022- finish processing samples of mucus samples

June 2022- Complete analysis of results

Aug 2022- Publish Results in peer review Journal

Jan 31, 2022

Finish Sampling Coral mucus at study site

Feb 01, 2022

Project Launched

Feb 15, 2022

Submit samples to 16s rRNA seq at UCSD

Jun 01, 2022

Complete multivariate statistical analysis

Aug 01, 2022

Publish paper

Meet the Team

Clifford Kapono
Clifford Kapono
Assistant Professor

Affiliates

1. Arizona State University Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science 2. The MEGA Lab
View Profile

Clifford Kapono

Dr. Cliff Kapono is a professional surfer, chemist and journalist. Born on the eastern shores of Hawai‘i, his life involves equal parts science as it does surf. While contributing several peer-reviewed publications to the fields of molecular bioscience, he has also produced a handful award-winning films that discuss indigenous activism, ocean conservation, global food security and virtual reality. He has been profiled in publications such as The New York Times, NBC, CBS, Surfer Magazine, and more. Cliff is currently based in Hilo, Hawai‘i and can be found tinkering in the lab when not chasing the best waves on the planet.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.


Project Backers

  • 13Backers
  • 56%Funded
  • $5,575Total Donations
  • $428.85Average Donation
Please wait...