We are very happy to announce that Victor was awarded an EMBO long term fellowship. The fellowship will support his postdoctoral work over the next two years. Congratulations!
This year, Liz, Diana, Philipp and Annika joined again our Japanese collaborators from the Hatta lab (Tokyo), Ueno lab (Okazaki) and Maruyama lab (Sendai) at Sesoko Marine Station on Okinawa to collect coral larvae for comparative experiments in the field. Coral were collected on the 1st of June around Sesoko island and transferred to the water tables. Over the next few days, night snorkelling to watch out for spawning on the reef right in front of the station started. As predicted by the team leader Masayuki Hatta, Acropora corals spawned during the night of the 6th of June and after a busy night of gamete collection and mixing sperm and eggs for fertilization, coral embryos developed into planula larvae which were used for experiments. 4 days after fertilization, coral larvae are ready to be ship and, after a fun night out with delicious Japanese food and beer at our favorite Izakaya in Nago City, our Japanese colleagues went back home to continue their experiments at their home institutes. The Guse lab continued to enjoy the snorkelling and working at Sesoko for another week trying to learn as much as possible about the natural coral reef habitats and rearing coral larvae and metamorphosed polyps. We also brought some coral babies home and hope to keep them happy and alive in Heidelberg. Anyways, we all hope to be back in 2018 to witness that amazing event of synchronous coral spawning induced by the lunar cycle that occurs only once every year.
The reef at Sesoko Marine Station
One of our main activities: snorkeling
Collected corals in water table
Coral are setting to get ready for releasing their gametes
Monitoring the spawning & collecting gamtes
Lab work during spawning night
Izakaya night to celebrate a successful coral spawning 2017
How did it go? Super well!
Starting in 2017, our research on the molecular mechanisms underlying intracellular coral-algal symbiosis will be supported by nearly 2.3 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC) for the next five years. This award recognizes the potential of Aiptasia as a powerful model system and allows us to launch many new and exciting projects on two fundamental aspects of symbiosis establishment: symbiont acquisition and the metabolic dependance of the host. Can it get any better? I don’t think so.
In a recent review article in Trends in Cell Biology, Bob Goldstein (UC Chapel Hill) and Nicole King (University of California Berkeley) propose that the ease with which state-of-the-art research tools these days can be applied to various emerging model organisms leads the way into the future of cell biology. The technical advances allowing genome sequencing, genome editing, transcriptomics and imaging to be applied to many non-traditional systems allows to study many novel questions at the molecular level. The given examples of emerging models include tardigrades (waterbears) to study survival of extremes, choanoflagellates to analyze animal origins as well as our favorite Aipasia as a model for coral symbiosis. To learn more check out the paper:
The podcast can be found here!
I am very happy to join the EMBO YIP program starting in 2017! 25 young group leaders within the life sciences were selected as new members of this Young Investigator network. The programme aims to support promising young group leaders in Europe while setting up their labs, focusing on networking. Please check out the official press release here and find out more about all new YIPs in the Winter 2016 issue of the magazine EMBO encounters.
We are happy to welcome Victor Jones as a new Postdoc to the lab. Victor finished his PhD at Oxford University working on the evolution of rooting cells in land plants using the emerging model plant, the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha.
Here comes our most recent publication with the title: “Aiptasia sp. larvae as a model to reveal mechanisms of symbiont selection in cnidarians” Well done, people!
Some bad scans of the nice Polaroids we took at the paper celebration party:
Today is World Oceans Day with the 2016 theme being “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”. As part of a the effort by Nature Microbiology to highlight some recent research in marine science, we got the chance to participate with a Q & A section about Aiptasia. Check it out!
By Philipp & Diana
After a busy week taking care of all the Acropora larvae and finalizing our experiments, we went on a final night snorkel with amazing bioluminescence on Saturday. On Sunday, we had our last day at Sesoko which was filled with filtering larvae and packing all of our equipment. We stayed up late to pack the larvae we wanted to bring to Germany as late as possible and finally went to bed after cleaning the lab at 1.30 a.m. On Monday, we got up at 5.30 to get to the airport for our flight back. After a 20 h journey, we got back to the lab in Heidelberg where Liz and Annika waited for us.Together, we unpacked the larvae and put them into new containers and gave them fresh sea water. Most larvae survived and seem to like it in our lab.
Our two weeks in Okinawa went by way too fast. We really enjoyed the field work together with our Japanese collaborators. One highlight was the amazing coral reef by the Sesoko Marine Station and at the South tip of Sesoko. Hopefully, we can come back next year and see some awesome creatures like the octopi, sea snakes, puffer fish and stone fish and cornetfish again. ARIGATO GOZEIMAS.