Institut des Récifs Coralliens du Pacifique

Bourses IRCP 2013 – Jérôme Patrice Payet (Oregon) : Analyse des virus dans les récifs coralliens

Jérôme Patrice Payet (Oregon) – Bourses 2013

Title of the project : Ecology and diversity of viruses in the Moorea coral reefs.

Abstract : Specifically, this proposed research aims to i) evaluate whether the coral reef ecosystem surrounding the island of Moorea harbors abundant, active and diverse marine viruses, ii) test whether changes in nutrient conditions (e.g. nutrient pollution) alter viral
dynamics, infection activities and genetic structures in coral-­‐associated microbial assemblages on corals, iii) determine whether certain viral subsets are associated with particular coral diseases. Overall this work aims to validate the hypothesis that viruses influence the health of corals in the Moorea reef ecosystem. Hypotheses and experimental design.

H1: Seawater surrounding coral reefs in Moorea harbors abundant, active and diverse marine viruses.
H2: Nutrient enrichment results in unique shifts in viral abundance, infection activities and diversity.
H3: The genetic structure of viral assemblages is different in diseased corals vs healthy corals.

Main results and perspective : This research will provide the first glimpse of viral ecology and diversity in the Moorea coral reef ecosystem, and generate unique data for the scientific community. Including viral components in coral reef ecological models will allow scientists to better predict the effects of anthropogenic stressors and natural threats to coral reefs and improve long-­‐term reef
management. In addition, because viruses could play a role in controlling proliferation of opportunistic microbial pathogens, this work could also be relevant to reef seawater quality. Furthermore, this work will provide a career development opportunity for a young French researcher from l’Île de La Réunion, who has a great interest in tropical reef systems.

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