This project will catalyze new collaborative research on pathogenic marine vibrios between Dr. Claudia Hase at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, and Dr. David Bourne of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville, Australia. The long-term goal of this collaboration is a better understanding of the role and ecology of Vibrio bacteria associated with coral disease. The research objectives of this visit are to examine the feasibility of methods developed by Dr. Hase to detect certain enzymes from Vibrio coralliilyticus. V. tubiashii has recently caused devastating losses in shellfish larvae production in the Pacific Northwest of the US and Dr. Hase has shown that a secreted metalloprotease is a critical factor for the toxicity of V. tubiashii. Dr. Bourne reported that a 99% similar enzyme of V. coralliilyticus is critical for coral bleaching and outlined the urgent need for better diagnostic tools for coral disease. Rapid and specific detection of pathogenic bacteria and their toxins in natural waters and diseased corals is paramount to better understand disease causation and to provide early warning allowing reef managers to mitigate the effect of disease outbreaks. Thus, this collaboration will benefit a broad range of marine research activities.
The broader impacts of this proposed work include providing support for an OSU student to travel with the PI to AIMS and current students in the Bourne lab will participate in the proposed work. The described project provides excellent educational opportunities for students as most of the proposed experiments are straightforward and are well suited for the engagement of students in the scientific process.