Thesis: Seagrass adaptation and acclimation: gene expression responses to extreme climatic events
Climate change is distrupting marine ecosystems at an alarming rate, threatening their viability for the future. Foundational species, such as seagrasses, play a major role in the success of an ecosystem, making them an integral part of conservation research. My research aims to assess the impact of climate stressors on the seagrass Posidonia australis, an ecosystem engineer, in the World Heritage Site of Shark Bay. I am interested in how P. australis responds to changes in water temperature and salinity at a molecular level, untangling the pathways and mechanisms involved in genetic adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. By using Next Generation Sequencing and computational approaches, the genetic activity of P. australis in different environments can be used to make better informed decisions on the restoration and conservation in Shark Bay.
Why my research is important
This research will improve our understanding of marine plant responses to environmental stressors in current and future conditions, and thus how conservation and restoration methods may more effectively protect the biodiversity and stability of Shark Bay for many more years to come. By using the most recent advances in computational approaches to assess the sequence data, the opportunities of genomic contributions can be highlighted and bolstered in conservation and restoration research.