Symbiodinium: the evolutionary transition to coral reef symbiont (2015–2017)
Coral reefs are sustained by symbiosis between the coral host and dinoflagellates of genus Symbiodinium.
Breakdown of this symbiosis under environmental stress results in coral bleaching and eventual death. This
Project aims to understand how dinoflagellate genomes have evolved to support a symbiotic lifestyle. The
Project will sequence genomes of Symbiodinium from reef corals and other hosts, and two free-living
relatives, and identify genes that have been gained or lost, or are under adaptive selection. This genomescale
perspective on the molecular systems implicated in the evolution of this symbiotic lifestyle has potential
to inform strategies for preserving Australia¿s Great Barrier Reef in the face of climate change.