EEB core faculty member Dr. Anja Schulze (Associate Professor, Marine Biology, Texas A&M University Galveston Campus) and her Ph.D. student Candace Grimes recently attended the third meeting of the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA III) on the beautiful island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles. Not a bad place for a conference!
Candace used the opportunity to collect some of her study organisms on the local coral reefs. She will be examining the microbiomes of bearded fireworms (Hermodice carunculata) and some of the corals they eat to determine whether the worms could potentially be vectors for coral diseases. Fireworms tend to be abundant at disturbed reef sites throughout the eastern and western Atlantic. Although their feeding activity is likely not a primary factor in reef decline, it may accelerate the process and slow recovery.
Candace and Anja are also interested in the environmental tolerances of fireworms, specifically to oxygen depletion. At the GIGA III meeting, Candace presented some of her ongoing work on differential gene expression in H. carunculata in response to experimental exposure to different oxygen levels.
Visit Dr. Schulze’s lab Website to learn more about her research and students.