Our overall goals are to : (1) coordinate investigations of South Pacific organisms as pharmaceutical resources for treating diseases of importance in the Pacific Islands and United States and for novel bioenergy applications (2) support sustainable uses of the biodiversity upon which such bioprospecting depends, and (3) understand the processes degrading coral reef ecosystems and initiate locally-appropriate conservation measures to enhance reef resiliance to both local and global pressures, (4) leverage NIH, University of the South Pacific (USP), and other resources to develop the South Pacific Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Drug Discovery (SPCBCDD) into a self-sustaining institution serving the 12 countries that operate USP (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), and (5) develop "green" culturing of coral reef live rock as an environmentally appropriate and economically viable substiture for the present destructive practices of live rock mining from Fijian reefs. Drug discovery will focus on (1) phylogenetically distinct and chemically rich marine actinomycetes making metabolites that are active in biomedical screens and that hosts novel metabolic pathways valuable for sustainable energy development, and (2) on chemically-rich coral reef macroorganisms that commonly upregulate defensive chemistry in response to attack from natural enemies, simulated attack, or other stresses. Extracts from these organisms will be bioassayed against relevant models including: drug resistant bacteria, fungi, TB, Malaria, psychological disorders, and cancer. Additionally, we will evaluate patterns in tropical reef biodiversity and conduct field experiments to determine the relative impacts of common stresses (e.g., overfishing, nutrification) causing seaweed replacement of corals and precipitating the dramatic loss of biodiversity that is occurring on coral reefs worldwide. Toward this end we will identify the processes and mechanisms involved, elucidate those critical herbivores that control the most aggressive seaweeds, and work with village leaders to develop effective resource management strategies based on this scientific input. We will also continue developing a web based foundation we have created for funding conservation of Fijian coral reef and mangrove systems.
This project focuses on marine microbes and Fijian coral reef organisms as producers of biologically active secondary metabolites that can be developed as pharmaceuticals to address diseases of peoples of both the U.S. and developing countries, especially in the South Pacific. Additional goals are the conservation of biotic resources on coral reefs and economic development of coastal Fijian villages based on sustainable practices.
|Brooker, Rohan M; Brandl, Simon J; Dixson, Danielle L (2016) Cryptic effects of habitat declines: coral-associated fishes avoid coral-seaweed interactions due to visual and chemical cues. Sci Rep 6:18842|
|Dell, Claire L A; Longo, Guilherme O; Hay, Mark E (2016) Positive Feedbacks Enhance Macroalgal Resilience on Degraded Coral Reefs. PLoS One 11:e0155049|
|Jensen, Paul R; Moore, Bradley S; Fenical, William (2015) The marine actinomycete genus Salinispora: a model organism for secondary metabolite discovery. Nat Prod Rep 32:738-51|
|Duncan, Katherine R; CrÃ¼semann, Max; Lechner, Anna et al. (2015) Molecular networking and pattern-based genome mining improves discovery of biosynthetic gene clusters and their products from Salinispora species. Chem Biol 22:460-71|
|Clements, Cody S; Hay, Mark E (2015) Competitors as accomplices: seaweed competitors hide corals from predatory sea stars. Proc Biol Sci 282:|
|Dell, Claire; Montoya, Joseph; Hay, Mark (2015) Effect of marine protected areas (MPAs) on consumer diet: MPA fish feed higher in the food chain. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 540:227-234|
|Dixson, Danielle L; Abrego, David; Hay, Mark E (2014) Reef ecology. Chemically mediated behavior of recruiting corals and fishes: a tipping point that may limit reef recovery. Science 345:892-7|
|Rasher, Douglas B; Hay, Mark E (2014) Competition induces allelopathy but suppresses growth and anti-herbivore defence in a chemically rich seaweed. Proc Biol Sci 281:20132615|
|Hay, Mark E (2014) Challenges and opportunities in marine chemical ecology. J Chem Ecol 40:216-7|
|Bonaldo, Roberta M; Hay, Mark E (2014) Seaweed-coral interactions: variance in seaweed allelopathy, coral susceptibility, and potential effects on coral resilience. PLoS One 9:e85786|
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