I study the complex interactions between microbial symbionts and benthic marine invertebrates like sponges and corals. This research combines manipulative experiments with advanced biochemical and molecular analyses to:
Characterize the microbial symbionts present within a host and how these microbial communities vary across different host species.
Identify the benefits of these interactions. These benefits are usually nutritional, with the host gaining access to new sources of carbon and nitrogen. In return, the microbial symbionts are provided a safe habitat within the host.
Determine how symbiont physiology and the overall symbiotic interaction changes under different environmental conditions.