Emma Mary Gibbin
I am originally from a small country town in Lincolnshire, in the UK. I attended Newcastle University for my bachelor degree, where I graduated with 1st class hons in Marine Biology.
I was lucky enough to be awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship, which enabled me to continue my studies. I completed my PhD at Victoria University of Wellington, working under the supervision of Prof. Simon Davy. My thesis, examined the role that acid-base regulation plays in determining the physiology of reef-building corals.
Soon after finishing my PhD, I moved to Quebec, Canada where I took up a post-doctoral position at the University of Quebec and Rimouski. I spent almost one year in Quebec, working for Dr. Piero Calosi. During this time I gained an appreciation of evolutionary biology; testing the efficacy of trans- and multi-generational experiments as tools for use in assisted evolution programs.
Now, I am based in Switzerland, working for Prof. Anders Meibom in the Laboratory for Biological Geochemistry. A short description of my project is provided below.
Coral reefs currently face the most substantial challenge to their existence in recent geological history (ca. 400,000 years). These threats encompass a plethora of anthropogenic activities including coastal development, overfishing and pollution but global climate change (ocean warming in particular) is undoubtedly the most pervasive consequence of human endeavor. Reef-building corals form complex relationships with photosynthesizing dinoflagellates (genus: Symbiodinium) and a consortia of microbial partners. Collectively known as the holobiont, the complex signaling and metabolic interactions that occur between all three partners enables corals to thrive in the nutrient-poor waters of the tropics. Exposure to above-average seawater temperatures disrupts the fragile balance of these interactions and eventually causes the death of the coral. Symbiotic dysfunction and subsequent expulsion (via a process known as bleaching) has been the traditional focus of research, but increases in the prevalence of coral disease are likely to be just as, if not more, important. In fact, the two phenomena are strongly related. It is perhaps unsurprising that thermally-stressed corals are an easier target for opportunistic pathogens, but reports from recent disease outbreaks suggest that the number of species affected by disease and the mortality levels involved are increasing. There are two possible explanations for these observations: either the pathogenicity of disease-related microbes is higher under ocean warming, or the corals ability to protect itself is compromised by the increase in episodic bleaching events. Little is known about coral immunity or indeed about the mechanisms that underpin coral infection and disease, so it is impossible to disentangle the two. This knowledge gap represents a fundamental flaw in our understanding of how corals will respond to global climate change and thus hinders the effectiveness of conservation efforts.
My post-doctoral project addresses these questions using by combining microfluidics, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) and Nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS). The overarching goal of my project is to provide a unique single-cell perspective on the dynamics of coral disease and immunity, with specific focus on the Pocillopora damicornis-Vibrio coralliilyticus association.
Live cell imaging;
Fluorescence in situ hybridization
|Post-doctoral Research Assistant||D�partement de Biologie, Chimie et G�ographie||Universit� du Qu�bec � Rimouski||2015|
|PhD in Marine Biology||Intracellular pH in cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis||Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand||2011-2014|
|Marine Biology BSc 1st class Hons||Newcastle University, UK||2006-2009|
|Gibbin EM, Putnam HM, Nitschke MR, Gates RD, Davy SK.
Marine Biology, 162(3), 717-723 (2015).
|Species-specific differences in thermal tolerance may define susceptibility to intracellular acidosis in reef corals.|
|Gibbin EM, Putnam HM, Davy SK, Gates RD.
Journal of Experimental Biology, 217, 1963-1969 (2014).
|Intracellular pH and its response to CO2- driven seawater acidification in symbiotic versus non-symbiotic coral cells.|
|Gibbin EM, Davy SK.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 457, 1-7 (2014).
|The photo-physiological response of a model cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis to CO2-induced acidification at the cellular level.|
|Gibbin EM, Davy SK.
Coral Reefs, 32, 859-863 (2013).
|Intracellular pH of symbiotic dinoflagellates.|
|Chakravarti LJ, Jarrold MD, Gibbin EM, Christen F, Massamba N'Siala G, Blier PU, Calosi P.
Evolutionary Applications. First online
|Can trans-generational experiments be used to enhance species resilience to ocean warming and acidification?|
|Gibbin EM, Chakravarti LJ, Jarrold MD, Christen F, Turpin V, Massamba NâSiala G, Blier PU, Calosi P.
Journal Experimental Biology 220, 551-563 (2017)
|Can multi-generational exposure to ocean warming and acidification lead to the adaptation of life history and physiology in a marine metazoan?|