South Florida State College Sebring, Florida, United States
Camila Ibanez (South Florida State College)| James Hawker (South Florida State College)
Corals play a huge role in our oceans by supporting the critical coral reefs and contributing with Earth’s ecosystem. Communication is vital for all organisms to grow and exchange information no matter the organization level of the organism. Communication among corals if enhanced and understood could contribute for future leading restoration programs.
There are a growing number of studies that describe the different ways trees communicate and that point out the importance of the communication in the livelihood of a forest. Because corals make up the ‘rainforests of the sea’, this ecosystem is believed to be highly dependent on communication to grow and survive. Many organisms that live in coral reefs, including coral larvae, perceive and are guided by sound when trying to find their way to coral reefs to develop.
In light of these preliminary observations, possible genes related to the reception and/or emission of sound were tested to determine its presence in the coral specie Cyphastrea. Some of the possible genes are present in organism very similar to corals while others are seen in plants, bats, and narwhals. The possible genes include WAKL2, Otof, FOLH1, and TRPV. Degenerate primers were developed for these genes which were later amplified via PCR with extracted Cyphastrea coral DNA. Agarose gels were utilized to test for the presence of these genes. Preliminary experiments showed non-specific results during PCR amplification. Data will be presented on the results of whether analogues of these genes from other species are present in Coral.