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News & Events
Coral Microbiologist Koty Sharp Published in Two Journals
Koty Sharp, Assistant Professor of Biology and Marine Sciences, has co-published an article, "Multi-Partner Interactions in Corals in the Face of Climate Change," in the August 2012 issue of the Woods Hole journal Biological Bulletin. Of the various researchers from across the globe, Sharp is the coral microbiologist in this issue.
"The August issue (of Biological Bulletin) is a special edition focused on symbiosis in the "omics" age and features researchers from all over the world who are using next-generation sequencing, genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics to study the microbial ecology of diverse symbioses," explains Professor Sharp. "I asked Kim Ritchie, my collaborator from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., to co-author the paper on coral-bacterial interactions in the face of climate change with me, and I think it is a great example of collaborative research taking place here on Florida's Gulf Coast."
(From the Abstract)
Recent research has explored the possibility that increased sea-surface temperatures and decreasing pH (ocean acidification) contribute to the ongoing decline of coral reef ecosystems. Within corals, a diverse microbiome exerts significant influence on biogeochemical and ecological processes, including food webs, organismal life cycles, and chemical and nutrient cycling. Microbes on coral reefs play a critical role in regulating larval recruitment, bacterial colonization, and pathogen abundance under ambient conditions, ultimately governing the overall resilience of coral reef systems. As a result, microbial processes may be involved in reef ecosystem-level responses to climate change...
This article comes on the heels of another piece co-published by Sharp in November 2011 in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal. "Diversity and dynamics of bacterial communities in early life stages of the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides" describes the microbiome of corals at their earliest stages (larvae) and provides new insight into how specific and predictable coral-bacterial associations are, and when those associations are first established in the coral animal.
"My work in this area has helped the research community to identify which components of the microbiome found in tropical corals are significant to the health of corals and reef ecosystems in general," said Professor Sharp. "Two Eckerd marine science seniors are currently working on thesis research projects that are extensions of this research."
About Koty Sharp
Professor Koty Sharp arrived at Eckerd in fall 2011. As an Assistant Professor of Biology and Marine Sciences, she teaches Biological Oceanography and Comparative Physiology. She received a B.S. in Biology from Mount Holyoke College and earned a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Dr. Sharp's research interests are centered on the microbial ecology of a wide range of marine invertebrates, including corals, sponges, tunicates, bryozoans, and bivalves. My research includes the use of molecular tools, field work, and advanced microscopy. My current research efforts are focused on 1) prokaryotic (bacterial and archaeal) communities within gametes, larvae, and early life stages of tropical corals, 2) interactions between prokaryotic communities and symbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium) in corals, and 3) research of bioactive metabolite symbiosis in marine invertebrates.