Richardson, L. L.. Florida International University, richardl@fiu.edu
Kuta, K. L.. Florida International University,
Carlton, R. G.. Electric Power Research Institute,
Schnell, S. Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology,

 
INTEGRATING MICROBIOLOGICAL, MICROSENSOR, MOLECULAR, AND PHYSIOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES FOR THE STUDY OF CORAL DISEASE ETIOLOGY
 
We have been using a suite of techniques to study coral diseases with the goal of discerning the role of microbial pathogens in coral disease etiology. Our approach is to combine standard microbiological techniques with non-standard and newly developed methodologies. Our work has emphasized determination of the chemical microenvironments present in diseased coral tissue, using oxygen- and sulfide-sensitive microelectrodes, conducted both with freshly collected samples and in situ on the reef. These data provide the basis for laboratory determination of the physiology of coral disease microorganisms, which in turn allows us to determine how these metabolic modes contribute to the disease state. For example, microelectrode measurements have revealed that the black band disease microenvironment is anoxic and sulfide-rich, the result of a population of sulfidogenic Desulfovibrio which thrives at the base of the band (revealed using a combination of fluorescently labeled molecular probes and confocal laser microscopy). The anoxic/sulfide-rich microenvironment often persists during daylight hours to the band surface, where another member of the black band disease consortium, the cyanobacterium Phormidium corallyticum carries out (sulfide-insensitive) oxygenic photosynthesis. P. corallyticum cannot perform anoxygenic photosynthesis using sulfide as electron donor, therefore it is physiological sulfide-tolerance that allows this cyanobacterium to exist as a black band member.
 
Day: Thursday, Feb. 4
Time: 11:15 - 11:30am
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS10TH1115S