Ramona Brunner - AIMS@JCU

Ramona Brunner

ramona.brunner@my.jcu.edu.au

PhD
College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Sciences

Ramona Brunner

ramona.brunner@my.jcu.edu.au

PhD
College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Sciences
The role of G protein-coupled receptors in coral settlement

Driven by her passion for corals, Ramona completed a Bachelor in Biology and a Master in International studies in Aquatic Tropical Ecology at the University of Bremen (Germany). Her Master’s thesis investigated the genetic connectivity between shallow and mesophotic reefs populations and was the start of a transition from coral reef ecology to coral molecular biology. Currently, Ramona is a PhD student at James Cook University aiming to identify the membrane receptors responsible for sensing environmental cues that induce settlement in Acropora millepora larvae. The ability of larvae to sense cues associated with suitable settlement habitat is essential for coral recruitment since it determines the survival after metamorphosis into sessile polyps.

The role of G protein-coupled receptors in coral settlement

2017 to 2022

Project Description

Coral reproduction is vital for reef recovery. Most corals reproduce by releasing gametes into the water column where they develop into coral larvae. Successful recruitment primarily depends on the ability of larvae to find suitable habitats for settlement (attachment to the reef substrate) since this in turn determines the survival after metamorphosis into sessile colonies. Larvae follow environmental cues indicating appropriate settlement habitats but the cellular structures to sense these settlement cues are still unidentified. Ramona's PhD project aims to identify the receptors responsible for settlement in Acropora sp. larvae.

Project Importance

Expanding knowledge about settlement receptors as small as 0.1 nanometre will have applications for coral propagation in reefs as large as 2,300 kilometres in the case of the Great Barrier Reef. Knowledge about larvae settlement receptors and settlement-inducing cues will serve as a starting point to unveil the molecular mechanism of settlement and metamorphosis. This knowledge would benefit reef restoration efforts and coral research by effectively directing larvae towards settlement substrates for reef replenishment and coral experiments.

Project Methods

Ramona is using transcriptomics, phylogenetics, proteomics and pharmacological settlement assays to study the settlement receptors of Acropora larvae.

Project Results

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Keywords

Coral reefs,
Corals,
Genetics,
Molecular techniques

Supervised By:

David Miller (JCU)

Andrew Negri (AIMS)

Ira Cooke (JCU)

Aurelie Moya (JCU)

Lionel Hebbard (JCU)

Lionel Hebbard (JCU)