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The molecular understanding of coral symbiosis is the foundation for understanding its evolution, ecology and what goes awry during coral bleaching in response to climate change.

Investigating coral symbiosis

We are a diverse group of scientists aiming to uncover the molecular mechanism underlying the endosymbiosis between corals and photosynthetic dinoflagellates.
Through curiosity-driven research, we generate mechanistic insight into symbiosis, the foundation for understanding what goes awry during coral bleaching, and capacity of
coral reefs to adapt to environmental change. 

The symbionts live inside the corals’ cells. With a cell biological perspective, we dissect the mechanisms underpinning symbiont acquisition and its integration in host cell function.
We ask what happens during bleaching and what role distinct symbiont-host pairings play for adaptation. We are keen to better reconstruct the evolution of symbiosis and its  relation to parasitism.


A model systems’ approach

We apply a model systems’ approach using the symbiosis anemone model Aiptasia.
We combine molecular cell biology and biochemistry with modern organismal biology, and comparative work with phylogenetically relevant organisms at the bench and corals in the field.

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