The genomics research framework was developed to address three key management questions:
- How do we preserve the diversity of the ecosystem in the face of climate change?
- How do we preserve the function of the system in the face of climate change?
- What innovative approaches could be applied to assist in managing the Reef in the face of climate change?
The Sea-quence project delivers the ‘Core enabling infrastructure’. This is the large genomic dataset for 10 critical reef-building corals and their associated microbes and symbionts. This project is the foundation of the research framework.
A dedicated bioinformatics project sits between the core enabling infrastructure project and the five major research themes of the framework. This project will provide the more-specialised bioinformatics required to manage, annotate, analyse, integrate and visualise the framework data to make them accessible to, and optimally useful for, five hypothesis-driven projects.
This genomics data will then underpin 5 major research project themes, which are represented by the 5 coloured boxes within the framework:
- Stress tolerance
- Role of Microbes
- Gene function
These are the potential project outputs under the 5 major research themes.
- Identify source and sink reefs that would inform spatial planning
- Predict the likelihood and speed of recovery of a population post disturbance
- Predict the rate of spread of advantageous mutations and stress-adapted genotypes
Role of Microbes
- Develop tests to use bacterial communities as indicators of coral health in the face of climate change
- Understand the role of the coral-algal symbiosis in adaptability to a changing environment
- Understand the rates and limits of adaptation of key coral and symbiont species and use this information to build better predictive models
- Identify tolerant coral colonies for use in selective breeding or assisted migration programs
- Identify genes or markers associated with stress tolerance that could be used in selective breeding programs
- Develop a biosensor for the early detection of stress in corals
- Develop coral cell cultures
- Develop “knock-out” corals for testing gene function