text-only page produced automatically by Usablenet Assistive Skip all navigation and go to page content Skip top navigation and go to directorate navigation Skip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
design element
Search Awards
Recent Awards
Presidential and Honorary Awards
About Awards
Grant Policy Manual
Grant General Conditions
Cooperative Agreement Conditions
Special Conditions
Federal Demonstration Partnership
Policy Office Website

Award Abstract #1316055

Ocean Acidification: Understanding the Impact of CO2 and Temperature on the Physiological, Genetic, and Epigenetic Response of a Model Sea Anemone System with Different Symbionts

Emerging Frontiers
divider line
Initial Amendment Date: June 24, 2013
divider line
Latest Amendment Date: April 29, 2014
divider line
Award Number: 1316055
divider line
Award Instrument: Standard Grant
divider line
Program Manager: Irwin Forseth
EF Emerging Frontiers
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
divider line
Start Date: July 1, 2013
divider line
End Date: June 30, 2017 (Estimated)
divider line
Awarded Amount to Date: $781,543.00
divider line
Investigator(s): Mark Warner mwarner@udel.edu (Principal Investigator)
Adam Marsh (Co-Principal Investigator)
divider line
Sponsor: University of Delaware
210 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716-2553 (302)831-2136
divider line
NSF Program(s): Integrative Ecologi Physiology,
divider line
Program Reference Code(s): 1228, 1382, 8001, 9150, 9178, 9179, 9251
divider line
Program Element Code(s): 7657, 8001


The projected rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is considered a primary threat to marine systems throughout the world due to both ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures. Coral reefs are very sensitive to these projected changes in the earth's climate, with continued losses in growth as well as disruption (also known as bleaching) in the symbiotic relationship between the algae (Symbiodinium) living within a diversity of host animals, including stony corals, soft corals and sea anemones. While much information has been gleaned as to how acidification may affect stony corals, considerably less is known about the interactive effects of acidification and temperature to other symbiotic anthozoans.

To this end, this proposal will investigate the long-term impacts of elevated CO2 and temperature on the model sea anemone, Aiptasia pallida, while harboring four different genotypes of Symbiodinium. The primary goals of this project are (1) to determine the sensitivity and capacity for acclimation in molecular and physiological processes while exposed to elevated CO2 and temperature, and (2) to assess the degree to which acclimated adult animals may confer (or transfer) an imprinted physiological characteristic to the next generation of asexual offspring. A series of long-term experiments will be conducted with each animal/algal combination (holobiont) in order to collect initial (3 month) stress markers and genomic data and then follow animal response and asexual reproduction through several generations for one year. The possibility for enhanced resilience or acclimation will be measured by tracking the recovery of each holobiont, followed by repeated exposure to elevated temperature while held in high CO2. This project will tease apart fine scale mechanisms of stress, acclimation, or amelioration that may vary as a function of algal genotype and host animal response, and the degree to which environmental imprinting may pre-acclimate propagules. Project results will provide information regarding how future acidification and warming will affect cnidarian-algal symbioses, and the fundamental profile of their flexibility in stress response processes across organismal, metabolic, genomic and epigenetic scales.

In addition to training one postdoctoral scholar and several graduate students, this project will enhance scientific discovery and participation of underrepresented groups through laboratory experiences offered to several undergraduates from different universities. Public outreach efforts will include a children's 'play'-educational exhibit, as well as several hands-on research demonstrations incorporating elements of sea anemone biology and symbioses which will be presented at the University of Delaware's annual "Coast Day" festival. Research efforts will also contribute to the further development of the NSF-EPSCoR infrastructure in the Delaware Biotechnology Center at the University of Delaware.


Note:  When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

Leal, MC
Hoadley, K
Pettay, DT
Grajales, A
Calado, R
Warner, ME. "Symbiont type influences trophic plasticity of a model cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis.," Journal of Experimental Biology, v.218, 2015, p. 858. 


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



Print this page
Back to Top of page
Research.gov  |  USA.gov  |  National Science Board  |  Recovery Act  |  Budget and Performance  |  Annual Financial Report
Web Policies and Important Links  |  Privacy  |  FOIA  |  NO FEAR Act  |  Inspector General  |  Webmaster Contact  |  Site Map
National Science Foundation Logo
The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749
  Text Only Version