In the Sharp Lab, we are interested in how interactions with microbes, both beneficial and pathogenic, impact the fitness and survival of benthic marine invertebrates. This is especially important as marine species, communities, and ecosystems face the emerging threats of climate change. Our research explores the microbial ecology and chemical ecology of marine invertebrate-bacterial symbioses, with a focus on the microbiome’s role in shaping the host animal’s response and resilience to change. Much of our work is focused on the temperate coral Astrangia poculata, an emerging model for studying coral-microbe symbiosis and physiology. We study the response of the coral microbiome to environmental disturbances; symbiont acquisition and transmission; patterns of microbial community diversity and dynamics; the impact of microplastics pollution on animal microbiomes; and factors that regulate and organize animal microbiome stability and resilience.
Learn more about the Sharp Lab Research.
We're always looking for motivated students to join our group. Thinking of coming to RWU to study Biology, Marine Biology, or Environmental Sciences? Contact Koty to explore joining our research team while you're here!
Want to learn more about Astrangia and the people who study it? Check out the Temperate Coral Research Group, a large coordinated community of researchers dedicated to studying temperate corals, including corals belonging to the genera Astrangia and Oculina. We hold the Temperate Coral Research Conference biennially at Roger Williams University.
The Sharp Lab is part of the Rhode Island Microbiome Consortium