Bachelor of Arts, University of California Berkeley (2004)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Hawaii Manoa (2012)
John Pringle, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
The key to understanding mechanisms that mediate cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses is to do experiments that target functional questions. With my background and training in developmental and larval biology, along with the lab group’s success of inducing Aiptasia to spawn in the lab, I see great opportunities to look at larvae and their specificity with certain strains of Symbiodinium and how might that progress through settlement and metamorphosis. Analysis of the transcriptomic changes between symbiotic and aposymbiotic larvae, and when larvae are exposed to different symbiont types, would provide immense information on specificity that could be different from the specificity seen at the adult stage. This study will contribute to our understanding of coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis in relation to early life history and physiology. I was previously trained at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory in Honolulu and received my Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii. Prior to that, I obtained a B.A. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. A native of San Diego and a lover of both the Pacific and the Bay Area, I greatly enjoy the outdoors, the ocean, the arts, and I do creative writing on the side.
Larvae of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis are induced to settle and metamorphose by the presence of marine bacterial biofilms, and the larvae of Montipora capitata respond to a combination of filamentous and crustose coralline algae. The primary goal of this study was to better understand metamorphosis of cnidarian larvae by determining what types of receptors and signal-transduction pathways are involved during stimulation of metamorphosis of P. damicornis and M. capitata. Evidence from studies on larvae of hydrozoans suggests that G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are good candidates. Settlement experiments were conducted in which competent larvae were exposed to neuropharmacological agents that affect GPCRs and their associated signal-transduction pathways, AC/cAMP and PI/DAG/PKC. On the basis of the results of these experiments, we conclude that GPCRs and these pathways do not mediate settlement and metamorphosis in either coral species. Two compounds that had an effect on both species, forskolin and phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (TPA), may be acting on other cellular processes not related to GPCRs. This study strengthens our understanding of the underlying physiological mechanisms that regulate metamorphosis in coral larvae.
View details for Web of Science ID 000304491500007
View details for PubMedID 22589403
Much interest has focused on the role of microbial layers--biofilms--in stimulating attachment of invertebrates and algae to submerged marine surfaces. We investigated the influence of biofilms on the adhesion strength of settling invertebrates. Larvae of four species of biofouling invertebrate were allowed to attach to test surfaces that were either clean or coated with a natural biofilm. Measuring larval removal under precisely controlled flow forces, we found that biofilms significantly increased adhesion strength in the ascidian Phallusia nigra, the polychaete tubeworm Hydroides elegans, and the barnacle Balanus amphitrite at one or more developmental stages. Attachment strength in a fourth species, the bryozoan Bugula neritina, was neither facilitated nor inhibited by the presence of a biofilm. These results suggest that adhesive strength and perhaps composition may vary across different invertebrate taxa at various recruitment stages, and mark a new path of inquiry for biofouling research.
View details for Web of Science ID 000253133900010
View details for PubMedID 18258779