Amy Apprill, 2009 Postdoctoral Scholar


The Ocean Life Institute has provided me with post-doctoral salary support that has allowed me the flexibility to research topics outside of my post-doctoral advisor’s research programs.  I have been studying associations between microorganisms and marine animals, by specifically focusing on understanding the contribution of the microorganisms to the health of corals and marine mammals.  I am leading a collaborative research project with Drs. Tracy Mincer, Konrad Hughen, Mak Saito, and Benjamin Van Mooy to identify microbial biomarker indices for coral health by comparing the genes, proteins, lipid signatures, and chemical-signaling compounds of microorganisms associated with corals of different health states.  My marine mammal research focuses on understanding health and environmental-related factors associated with alterations in the skin bacterial flora of humpback and North Atlantic right whales.  Research on corals and large whale microbial communities is significant because microorganisms are often the first responders to environmental and health related changes, and understanding the drivers of microbial diversity in endangered and threatened marine animals may be useful for conservation management of populations and their habitats.