Welcome to the LMME,
Coral reefs are the most diverse and important marine ecosystems on the planet and have dominated tropical oceans over the past 250 million years. Corals are important for studying evolutionary development (Evo-Devo), ecology, biodiversity, paleoclimate reconstruction of tropical oceans, and for drug discovery. Scleractinian (reef-building) corals are among the most efficient biomineralizing organisms in nature. They have formed vast coral reefs in the shallow waters of the tropical and subtropical oceans since the Permian mass-extinction. Thus, the importance of scleractinian corals to global ocean chemistry, nutrient cycles, and the continental shelf-environment in particular, cannot be underestimated. Paradoxically, although there are some indications for rhythmic behavior, very little is known about the circadian clocks that control the biology of these symbiotic organisms. There is no clear evidence from molecular or physiological perspectives for a circadian mechanism controlling the metabolism, photosynthesis, or the calcification process involved in the formation of these calcium carbonate skeletons (polymorph aragonite).
What we do…
The aim of our research group is to understand the dependency between environmental cues (e.g. light and temperature) that underlie circadian rhythms in symbiotic marine organisms, reef-building corals, in regulating physiology and behavior. Symbiotic corals will serve as a model system to investigate the dependency between two circadian-system associations or non-associations in the simple multicellular organism, on the physiological and molecular levels.
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