Symbiodinium | About

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To investigate how corals resist stress through development of a powerful sea anemone model system and related experiments with corals, sea anemones and the symbiotic algae that reside in them. The funding will be used to enhance researchers' abilities to predict coral resilience by identifying early, reliable signals that result from changing environmental conditions.

Grossman Lab


Developing an understanding of factors that are causing degradation of the coral reefs and the interaction between the cnidarian (animal partner) and the alga (dinoflagellate called Symbiodinium; photosynthetic partner) in the formation of the endosymbiotic association required for coral survival. Elevated temperatures and changing pH of marine ecosystems are beginning to adversely affect the coral reefs. We are trying to establish, at the molecular level, how and why this is happening.

Palumbi Lab


Now contains a data-repository page (http://palumbi.stanford.edu/data/ ) that hosts the assemblies and annotation files for each of the coral species analyzed in the field studies at Ofu Island, American Samoa. These data are described in the Ladner et al. and Barshis et al. manuscripts and are being simultaneously made available to the National Park Service office responsible for the Ofu research center. In addition, the full environmental dataset is being readied for deposit on this site as a set of Excel and flat files.

Pringle Lab


With support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the National Science Foundation, Dr. John Pringle and his team at Stanford have been working to understand how corals resist stress. To develop hypotheses about coral stress, Dr. Pringle’s group is first studying sea anemones, which are evolutionary cousins of corals. By developing a sea anemone experimental model system, his team is attempting to identify early, reliable signals of stress that result from changing environmental conditions. These results will then be tested with corals at a field site in American Samoa to see how well the scientists can predict coral resilience in a natural environment.


Ladner JT, Barshis DJ, Palumbi SR. Protein evolution in two co-occurring types of Symbiodinium: an exploration into the genetic basis of thermal tolerance in Symbiodinium clade D. BMC Evol. Biol., in press.

Barshis DJ, Ladner JT, Oliver TA, Seneca FO, Traylor-Knowles N, Palumbi SR. A genomic basis for coral resilience to climate change. Revised version submitted to Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.

Xiang T, Hambleton EA, DeNofrio JC, Pringle JR, Grossman AS. Isolation of clonal, axenic strains of the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium and their growth and host specificity. In revision for J. Phycol.


Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the National Science Foundation