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Advanced Coral Toolkit

Microarray to Survey Coral Diversity in the Field

By August 22, 2023January 10th, 2024No Comments

Iliana Baums, Pennsylvania State University and Kirsty McFarland, Draper

A critical need for coral restoration planning is genotype identification to promote genotypic and species diversity within nurseries and outplanting sites. While technically feasible, genotyping in the field is too resource-intensive to be performed in the remote locations where most corals are found.

This is problematic because many coral species reproduce through fragmentation, which makes it difficult to distinguish large clonal stands from genetically diverse communities. Furthermore, coral species are often difficult to identify in the field without genetic information. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (“Draper”), a high-tech engineering firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has developed a customizable fieldable miniature microarray device originally made for the identification of genetically engineered organisms. The Baums lab will work with Draper to adapt this fieldable device for genotyping corals in low resource environments.

Drs. Baums and McFarland will develop and demonstrate the device for the genotyping of Acropora coral, many of which are seen here | Baums Lab