[Coral-List] UCSC Undergraduate Research Team Looking for Advice

Nathan Mccall namccall at ucsc.edu
Sat Mar 26 07:21:27 UTC 2022

Hello Coral-List!

My name is Nathan McCall and I am part of the UCSC iGEM 2022 team. A little
about iGEM and our team; we are a group of undergraduate students working
towards creating a biosynthetic product to compete in the iGEM competition
<https://igem.org/>. iGEM is considered a non-profit organization, and a
common theme throughout past UCSC iGEM teams is to help individuals and
communities in underprivileged areas.

Recently, my outreach group and I have been looking into finding
biosynthetic solutions to saving corals. Many of the keystone species
within the subphylum are not only essential for many species on this planet
but for humanity as well. As many of you on this forum know, climate change
and anthropogenic activity has caused thermal stress to corals,
contributing to bleaching and infectious diseases. Coral reefs protect
coastlines from storms and erosion and more than half a billion people
directly rely on corals for food, income, and protection.

Last Summer, I worked with a graduate student at my university on the
effects of estrone and atrazine on Montipora Capitata’s growth rate and
survival in Hawaii, further sparking my interest in corals. However,
through my research with my mentor, one of the aspects of corals that
caught my attention was the mutualistic relationship between Symbiodinium
and their hosts, specifically, Clade D. I was curious to know if anyone has
looked into genetically engineering these symbionts to further the survival
of corals?

I was also hoping if anyone would be interested in setting up a meeting
over Zoom with me and some members of my team. I would like to learn more
about the importance of coral reefs for local communities around the world
as well as potential strategies to save our corals. Any information
surrounding the topic would be also more than welcome.


Nathan McCall

UCSC Biomolecular Engineer and Bioinformatics Undergraduate

namccall at ucsc.edu

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