Marine Symbiosis

Members of the Marine Symbiosis group investigate the nature and evolution of associations between microbial organisms and their hosts.

We study associations of dinoflagellates, green algae, fungi and prokaryotes with reef-building corals, endosymbioses leading to chloroplast formation, and the parasite Plasmodium, which causes malaria.

Research topics

  • Microbial genetics and genomics
  • Parasitic symbionts: malaria
  • Molecular mechanisms underpinning establishment and persistence of the coral–Symbiodinium symbiosis
  • Algal endosymbiosis and the evolutionary spread of photosynthesis
  • Genome evolution associated with algal endosymbiosis
  • Environmental diversity of coral-associated microbiota
  • Coral microbiome manipulation (including engineering) to enhance environmental stress tolerance and assist the persistence of coral reefs into the future

Principal investigators

Professor Linda Blackalllinda.blackall@unimelb.edu.au
Professor Geoff McFaddengim@unimelb.edu.au
Professor Madeleine van Oppenmadeleine.van@unimelb.edu.au
Dr Heroen Verbruggenheroen.verbruggen@unimelb.edu.au

Group members

We work closely with other labs at the University of Melbourne, in particular the Microbial Genetics cluster and the Environmental Microbiomes Research Initiative.