Victoria Marie Glynn

McGill University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Rowan Barrett
David Kline, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
Start: 2019-09-03
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Host-microbe dynamics in Tropical Eastern Pacific corals as a potential source of resilience to environmental stress
Climate change is imperiling the state of our oceans. Coral reefs, which support over 500 million people via tourism, storm protection, and fisheries, are particularly susceptible, with one-third of species risking extinction this century. Yet, corals host microorganisms from all domains of life, and both partners can engage in a diversity of strategies to cope with environmental stress: from turning-on certain genes at high temperatures, to changing their morphology (external appearance) due to physical disturbance. Panama’s Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) is an ideal location to explore coral resilience, as here corals grow along an upwelling gradient. Corals in the Gulf of Panama experience strong seasonal upwelling, while the nearby Gulf of Chiriquí experiences weak to no upwelling. During seasonal upwelling, corals in the Gulf of Panama experience drastic fluctuations in temperature, pH, oxygen, salinity, and nutrients, as cold, nutrient-rich water displaces warmer, less nutrient-rich surface water. Lace coral (Pocillopora damicornis), the dominant coral in both gulfs, has persisted for millennia under conditions that often trigger other coral reefs’ collapse. By comparing corals in these contrasting environments, P. damicornis may provide insights for how corals can cope with rapidly changing environmental conditions associated with climate change.


metagenomics, genomics, adaptation, Acclimation, Transcriptional plasticity, Coral reefs


1- Engineering Kluyveromyces marxianus as a Robust Synthetic Biology Platform Host
Cernak, Paul, Raissa Estrela, Snigdha Poddar, Jeffrey M. Skerker, Ya-Fang Cheng, Annika K. Carlson, Berling Chen, Victoria M. Glynn, Monique Furlan, Owen W. Ryan, Marie K. Donnelly, Adam P. Arkin, John W. Taylor, Jamie H. D. Cate,
2018 mBio