Professor Mark Hay was flown to Heron Island, Australia to show the Coral Algae Research Lab how to run algal-extract competitive experiments on corals.
Algae have three primary ways to compete with corals; 1) physical abrasion/overgrowth, 2) Dissolved organic carbon/microbial interactions, and 3) chemical warfare using secondary metabolites. The last two are experimentally much more difficult to investigate.
Using a series of chemistry protocols that have been refined by Mark and colleagues since the 90’s, we are now able to investigate allelochemical effects on corals. We isolated algal extracts in solution, injected the extract solution into a gel medium, and then attached the gel to corals to determine the chemical effects on the corals. The accuracy required for this chemistry creates both high levels of excitement and anxiety!
This is the team after a successful ‘algal-extract’ mission accomplished. We got some really cool results that we will be sharing when ready and can definitely not thank Mark the Master enough for providing us with his knowledge and guidance. Thanks mate !