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Our main projects are Phytoplankton-Bacteria Symbiosis in Today's Oceans, Coral Holobiont Adaptation to Climate Change, and Mangrove Sediment Diversity in Extreme Environments. Click the headline for each project to read more about them in (scientific) detail, or, click here to access plain English summaries.

We are also involved in a number of other collaborative projects including:

 - UAE Healthy Future Study

 - Life and Death of Karenia brevis Blooms in the

    Eastern Gulf of Mexico

 - Chemical currencies of microbial ecosystems

We are currently funded by:

 - National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration

 - Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

 - NYUAD Institute

 - Tamkeen

 - United Nations Development Program

 - Center for Chemical Currencies of a

    Microbial Planet

Our current sampling locations include: 

 - Abu Dhabi Coast

 - Gulf of Mexico

 - North Sea

 - More to come!

Interactions between phytoplankton, the major primary producers in the oceans, and bacteria constitute one of the most important associations in aquatic ecosystems. Exchanges between both groups influence the carbon cycle, atmospheric composition and global biogeochemical cycles. Using new techniques developed in our lab and existing methods, we aim to understand the molecular mechanisms that enable these symbiotic relations, how they influence the oceanic ecosystem and their fate in response to climate change.

Fig3-Phycosphere depiction.jpg

Corals depend on multi-partite symbioses with diverse microbiota that influences their fitness and resilience to climate change. We are using an integrated ‘omics approach, including shotgun metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metabolomics to better understand the functional responses of the coral holobiont (host and its associated microbiomes) during normal symbiosis and the climate change-induced dysbiosis. Unraveling the molecular mechanisms of coral symbiosis will enable us to target effective strategies to save the collapsing diversity of corals in today’s oceans.

Coral Microbiome.jpeg

Mangrove forests in Abu Dhabi constitute an extreme environment that is exposed to high temperatures, salinity and UV light and shifting tides. The microbial communities of these sediments are a complex ecosystem that plays an important role in cycling carbon and other essential elements. Using meta-omics, we are shedding light on the taxonomic and functional diversity of microbes in these environments and their adaptation mechanisms to this extreme environment.

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