Viruses are the most abundant and diverse biological entities in the world’s oceans, and all marine life forms are susceptible to viral infection. Coral reefs are complex and diverse ecosystems that harbour abundant and diverse microbes including protists, prokaryotes, fungi and viruses. However, relatively little is known about the ecology and genetic diversity of viruses in coral-associated microbes. The focus of my research is to use field experiments and culturing approaches in combination with single cell and next-gen sequencing tools to 1) examine the genetic structure and diversity of coral-associated viruses, 2) characterize viruses that infect coral-dinoflagellate endosymbionts (Symbiodinium) and, 3) evaluate the ecological roles of viruses in these vulnerable ecosystems. This work will hopefully provide novel insights into previously unknown roles of viruses in maintaining healthy coral ecosystems.
HERBVRE | Moorea (IRCP Robert WAN - Tahiti Perles Grant)