The Marine Biology lab at NYU Abu Dhabi uses the Arabian Gulf as a natural laboratory to study coral reef ecology in extreme environments and to understand how these may serve as a model for the possible impacts of future climate change on reefs elsewhere.
Current research explores how reef fauna in the Arabian Gulf are able to cope with extreme temperatures using a suite of genomic, molecular, physiological and ecological approaches.
Ongoing projects include understanding the role of adaptation versus acclimation in the high thermal tolerance of corals and their symbionts, the biogeographic patterns of genetic structure of coral and their symbionts across environmental gradients in the region, and large-scale changes in regional coral reef ecosystems as a result of recurrent bleaching and other disturbances, among other projects.
We currently have an intensive study of the ecophysiology of reef fishes living in this extreme environment to understand the role that thermal stress plays in ecological performance from the molecular/cellular to population scales, as well as studies of population genetics and genomic signatures of adaptation in commercial fish species. The lab is also initiating a three year project on mangrove genomics in late 2018.