Algal Bloom Biology

This is a collaborative multidisciplinary project between Dr. Carol Thornber at the University of Rhode Island and the Swanson lab to elucidate the mechanisms of harmful algal bloom formation (by two commonspecies inthe bloom-forming, green algal genus Ulva) in response to temperature thresholds.  The activities proposed here represent a low-risk, high-reward opportunity to identify and characterize novel genomic-level regulators that control algal blooms in response to seasonal temperature fluctuations and potential climate change.  Ulva blooms have significant negative ecological and economic impacts on coastal communities, including in Narragansett Bay, RI. However, little data exist on the genetic makeup and underling functional genetics that link bloom dynamics to environmental changes, especially with respect to climate change.  In order to assess a link between the biology of bloom-forming Ulva species to climatic factors, we will develop a set of genomic tools that will provide information on: a) the biological nature of these blooms (life history phase and population makeup), and b) their relationship to temperature, to provide an eventual predictive model for outbreaks.  The RI EPSCoR currently funds this project.

Salve Students talk about the Ulva project with Governor Chafee at the SURF Undergraduate Symposium in July 2012
L-R: Gov. Chafee, Shennel Gelen (SRU Undergrad), Kristen Dostie (SRU Undergrad), Dr. JD Swanson, Dr. Carol Thornber

References

Thornber, C. S., Rinehart, S.*, Guidone, M.*, Swanson, JD (2013) Ecological Dynamics of Ulva Macroalgal Blooms, 10th International Phycological Congress, 4-10 August, 2013, Orlando FL

Aires, T.***, Thornber, C., Swanson, JD (2013) Differential Gene Regulation Patterns, during Bloom and Non-Bloom Time Periods, of  Ulva rigida in Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island, USA), 10th International Phycological Congress, 4-10 August, 2013, Orlando FL

Breseman, M., Gelin, S., Battocletti, A., Thornber, C. and Swanson, JD (2013) Elucidation of Polymorphic Microsatellite Markers in Ulva rigida and Ulva compressa, The 52nd Annual Northeast Algal Society Symposium, Mystic CT. April 19-21, 2013

Battocletti, A., Bishop, E., Schollmeier, T., Gelin, S., Breseman, M., Swanson, J.D., Aires, T., Thornber, C. (2013) Investigating Ulva rigida bloom formation in Narragansett Bay RI. The 52nd Annual Northeast Algal Society Symposium, Mystic CT. April 19-21, 2013

Gelin, S.,  Aires, T., Dostie, K., Bresemen, M., Mercado, N., Stimpson, C., Allen, H.*, Battocletti, A.,  Thornber, C., Swanson, J.D., (2013) Uncovering the Functional Genetics of Macroalgal Ulva Blooms using Transcriptome Analysis. Plant and Animal Genome Meeting XXI, San Diego, CA. Jan 12-16, 2013

Battocletti, A., Gelin, S., Breseman, M., Thornber, C., Swanson, JD. (2012) Ulva species reproductive strategy during bloom formation.  5th Annual RI SURF Conference, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI, July 27, 2012

Gelin, S., Dostie, K., Bresemen, M., Battocletti, A., Thornber, C., Swanson, JD. (2012) DNA Extraction Methods for Macroalgal Ulva Species.  5th Annual RI SURF Conference, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI, July 27, 2012

Breseman, M., Dostie, K., Gelin, S., Battocletti, A., Thornber, C., Swanson, JD. (2012) Identification of Polymorphic Microsatellite Markers in Ulva rigida and Ulva compressa.  5th Annual RI SURF Conference, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI, July 27, 2012