FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Fort Pierce, FL Summer Intern Mentor: Dr. Joshua Voss May 2015 - July 2015
Project: Comparing Montastraea cavernosa mucus microbial communities along the St. Lucie Reef freshwater discharge gradient
I assessed the impact of freshwater discharge from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Reef on the mucus microbial communities of Montastraea cavernosa colonies. I used length-heterogeneity polymerase chain reaction to characterize the communities and detected a significant difference between the composition of communities collected during a time of low discharge water from the lake vs. a time of high freshwater discharge. I intend to continue the project in the Fall, by using next-generation sequencing of the microbial communities to determine whether the shift in communities was specifically caused by the freshwater discharge release and if the shift was deleterious to the host coral. During my internship, I also joined the Voss lab on a week-long research cruise aboard the R/V Manta, analyzing benthic communities and collecting coral samples for other studies. The header picture was taken while aboard the R/V Manta.