Great Barrier Reef Framework Data Initiative 

Bioplatforms Australia formed a strategic alliance with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to bring together leading researchers from Australia and Saudi Arabia, to understand the genetic makeup of corals and how they might respond to climate change.

Current knowledge of coral resilience and their capacity to adapt is extremely limited. Bridging this knowledge gap is critical for reef managers who want to maintain the diversity and function of coral reefs. This Bioplatforms Australia Framework Data Initiative will develop an enabling resource of coral and symbiodinium genome sequences and associated microbial symbiont metagenomics data. This data resource will facilitate a series of hypothesis driven research projects to be executed by members of the ReFuGe 2020 consortium – short for Reef Future Genomics.

The first phase of this work is the Sea-quence Project which aims to deliver core genetic data for a suite of corals from the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea. The project will be delivered in two parallel but connected parts – one in Australia and one in the Red Sea.

Sequence data is being generated for the following:

  • 10 coral host species across six different coral types in the Great Barrier Reef, providing five times the currently available data;
  • three to four algal symbionts;
  • microbial symbionts;
  • ‘sister species’ from the Red Sea (this work will be undertaken by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia).

The project is led by Dr David Bourne from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in partnership with the other consortium members: James Cook University, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the University of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the Australian National University. The project has also received support from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Rio Tinto and a family foundation.

For further information please visit the Bioplatforms Australia Metadata Portal: https://data.bioplatforms.com/organization/about/bpa-great-barrier-reef

Project contacts:

David Bourne | T: 07 4753 4139 | d.bourne@aims.gov.au
Petra Lundgren | T: 07 3252 7555| plundgren@barrierreef.org
Anna Fitzgerald | T: 02 9850 1174 | afitzgerald@bioplatforms.com

Articles and Publications

Scientists anxiously await Barrier Reef coral spawn off North Qld
ABC News
21 November 2013
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Elusive coral spawn key to world-first DNA study
ABC News Radio Program
21 November 2013
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Coral DNA to help reef conservation: study
ABC News
8 November 2012
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Climate study to focus on coral DNA
The Australian
8 November 2012
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World’s first Sea-quence project unites Great Barrier Reef and Red Sea scientists to help protect coral reefs from climate change
IMB News 2012
8 November 2012
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Great Barrier Reef focus of international genome sequencing project
Australian Life Scientist
8 November 2012
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