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We discover the biology that powers coral-algal symbiosis

Welcome to our lab! We are a new lab at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The dinoflagellate in the family Symbiodiniaceae forms a symbiotic relationship with many hosts including coral, anemones, jellyfish, and clams. They provide coral with photosynthetically fixed carbon while the coral supplies the algae with inorganic nutrients and a haven from predation.

Our laboratory is interested in answering fundamental questions about the biology and metabolism of dinoflagellates using systems biology tools. In particular, we apply systems biology (metabolomics, transcriptomics, genomics), cell biology, and genetic approaches to understand coral-algal symbiosis and toxin biosynthesis in red tide dinoflagellates.

Aiptasia-Symbiodiniaceae is a model system to study coral-algal symbiosis. Shown here is a fluorescence image of the top view of a symbiotic Aiptasia. Red fluorescence is from chlorophylls of the photosynthetic algal symbiont Symbiodiniaceae.
Cultured axenic Symbiodiniaceae strain SSA03 (species: Symbiodinium
pilosum
)