Bettina Glasl - AIMS@JCU

Bettina Glasl

bettina.glasl@my.jcu.edu.au

PhD
College of Science and Engineering

Bettina Glasl

bettina.glasl@my.jcu.edu.au

PhD
College of Science and Engineering
Microbial indicators for water quality and environmental stress assessment

The sea and its creatures have always fascinated Bettina and the fact that she grew up in Austria, a landlocked country, did not stop her from studying marine biology. She successfully completed her Bachelor of Science in 2012 and her Master of Science in 2015, both at the University of Vienna (Austria). During her MSc studies she spend on semester at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) as an exchange student. For her MSc thesis she worked on the dynamics of the prokaryotic microbiome associated with coral mucus and its influence on coral health. As part of her MSc thesis she spend several months on the Caribbean island CuraƧao, where she conducted her fieldwork.

Microbial indicators for water quality and environmental stress assessment

2015 to 2019

Project Description

The overarching goal is to establish microbial baselines (taxonomy and function) associated with the coral reef benthos (corals, sponges and macroalgae) and the ambient reef environment (seawater, sediment) under natural conditions and upon environmental disturbances. The establishment of microbial baselines will facilitate identification of microbial indicators, which can be used as a diagnostic tool to assess water quality and coral reef health.

Project Importance

Microbial indicators will make a significant contribution to an Integrated Reef Monitoring Program and improve our capacity to rapidly predict ecosystem declines due to cumulative pressures, thereby guiding early management interventions aimed at conserving the unique biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef.

Project Methods

Bettina's project will assess the composition and function of microbial communities associated with coral reef sediments, seawater and dominant habitat forming taxa (corals, sponges, seaweeds) in a high temporal resolution sampling program that includes collection of extensive environmental metadata.

Project Results

Once putative microbial indicators of reef health and/or water quality have been identified from baseline surveys, these microbial species or functions will be extensively validated as robust bioindicators using experimental manipulations in the AIMS SeaSimulator. Validated microbial indicators can subsequently be incorporated into monitoring programs, reef report cards and health indices.

Keywords

Algae,
Bacteria,
Benthic,
Biodiscovery,
Biostatistics,
Climate change,
Controlled Environment,
Coral reefs,
Corals,
Distribution,
Ecology,
Field based,
Genetics,
Interaction,
Management tools,
Manipulative experiments,
Microbial,
Microbiology,
Modelling,
Molecular techniques,
Monitoring,
Natural disturbance,
Ocean acidification,
Ocean warming,
Pelagic,
Plankton,
Pollution,
Porifera (sponges),
Qualitative techniques,
Quantitative marine science,
Temporal change