Engineering microbial symbionts that increase coral climate resilience

2019 update:

This work progressed well in 2019, with Gayle Philip and Dieter Bulach sharing their expertise with the Prof van Oppen’s team.

Along with conducting her own analysis of high-throughput data generated by the lab, Gayle has been upskilling members of the lab to be able to perform their own analyses. This has included implementing systems for storage of data in MediaFlux, communication in the lab through MS Teams and teaching lab members how to access the University of Melbourne’s High Performance Computing system (Spartan). Through the lab’s association with the Environmental Microbiology Research Initiative (EMRI), Gayle has delivered workshops for EMRI including: Galaxy and Data Formatting, Nectar and Spartan HPC and Introduction to Unix.

Project description

This research focuses on microbial symbiosis in corals, adaptation/acclimatisation to climate change, and connectivity of coral reefs. It is particularly focussed on ‘assisted evolution’, where mechanisms of adaptation and acclimatisation in corals and genetic manipulations to enhance stress tolerance and fitness of corals in a changing environment are explored.

Read more about Prof van Oppen’s work here.

Project collaborators

Prof Madeleine van Oppen, Chair, Marine Biology, University of Melbourne (School of BioSciences) and Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS))

The van Oppen lab team

Dr Gayle Philip, Melbourne Bioinformatics

Dr Dieter Bulach, Melbourne Bioinformatics


This project is supported by an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship (2019-23) awarded to Prof van Oppen.