Support research to preserve coral reefs which are of major importance for ecology and healthcare !
What specific contribution?
Specifically, the project will increase our knowledge on coral bleaching. This is of paramount importance to find adequate measures to deal with this major environmental problem. Moreover, the study of TGFbeta in corals will collect data needed to understand certain human diseases such as cancer, malaria or Alzheimer.
As it is the case for any disease, we must first get to know the actors to find 'the' solution.
Why do we have to go to Hawaii?
To test our hypothesis, we need to work on suitable models like coral larvae and their zooxanthellae.
The Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) has developed a unique system of collection of Fungia Scutaria coral larvae.
Adults Fungia scutaria can thus be collected by researchers and delicately settled in aquaculture tanks and bowls.
It is then possible to predict the sperm and eggs broadcast of this species based on the full moon. After fertilization, the larvae obtained are extremely fragile and must be frequently cleaned for over a week. This is a full-time and hard job ! The onset of symbiosis can be achieved experimentally by adding zooxanthellae in seawater bowls. The larvae are very fragile, there is currently no means of transportation from one country to another. The only way is to get there !
Once the larvae obtained, the research begins. We will measure the daily rate of larvae infection by zooxanthellae. The TGFbeta gene expression is measured in larvae grown under the same conditions and then heat-stressed or treated with a bacterial stimulus (LPS). We will then compare these measures between various treatments.
Back to France
The daily rate of larvae infection by zooxanthellae will be measured by microscopic analysis by counting the average number of infected larvae out of 100. On these larvae, we will also measure the level of TGF beta gene expression. This will enable us to establish a relationship between the rate of infection and the level of expression.
Why do we need 5500 € ?
This call for donations will cover the costs of transportation, housing, leasing laboratories and molecular biology reagents and labware.
Who participate in the project?
Olivier Detournay, a researcher in immunology, with a strong background in coral diseases, provides technical and scientific support to CORAL GUARDIAN.
Olivier, with the support of Jeremy Berthelier, a master student of marine biology at the University Aix-Marseille, leads the study in collaboration with the laboratory of Zoology Virginia Weis (OSU / Oregon University) and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).