Spread across 109 countries, the world’s coral reef communities are a storehouse of biodiversity and a source of livelihood for an estimated half a billion people. Reef-building corals are the cornerstone of these coral reefs, but climate change places corals at risk through warmer water temperatures and more acidic oceans.
The ReFuGe 2020 consortium, short for Reef Future Genomics, came together to address the gap in current knowledge of coral resilience and adaptive capacity.
Bridging this gap is critical for reef managers to maintain the diversity and function of coral reefs, by developing and implementing innovative management approaches.
The ReFuGe 2020 consortium draws on national and international expertise from reef management, and the coral reef, medical, agricultural and terrestrial genomics fields.
This world-first project, known as Sea-quence, generated core genetic data for 9 corals from the Great Barrier Reef; two Symbiodinium and a large number of associated microbes. The data is freely available to all and was generated for the purpose of helping to guide management response in the face of climate change.
For further information, and to access the data, please go to refuge2020.reefgenomics.org
The two year project looks for molecular markers that can be correlated to varying tolerance to environmental stressors such as turbidity, temperature and light.