Congratulations to Dr. Tamar Goulet for her new NSF award to study the genetic makeup of coral colonies.  

“Corals constitute the core of coral reef ecosystems.  In turn, coral reef ecosystems comprise an essential component for many countries, including the U.S., serving as barriers from ocean waves, providing food for the population, and income from the tourist industry.  The majority of corals are colonies of creatures living in a cup, coral polyps, that are connected to each other with tissue.  The underlying assumption about coral colonies, similar to the approach to cells in humans and other mammals, is that the polyps in a colony arose from a single coral genotype.   But, what if a single coral colony was actually composed of multiple coral genotypes, which is referred to as a biological chimera?  This study challenges the assumption of the genetic identity of coral colonies.”