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Island genetics firm joins study to monitor health of reefs

Divers collect samples for The 2 Frontiers Project as part of a conservation effort (Photograph supplied)

A local genetics lab has joined an effort to study Bermuda’s coral population to protect reefs around the world from the impact of climate change.

CariGenetics has partnered with the The 2 Frontiers Project and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences in the coral reef genetic-mapping project intended to study how corals survive in extreme environments.

Braden Tierney, the founder of the project, which is a team of scientists and industry leaders devoted to advancing human and environmental health, reached out to Carika Weldon, the Bermudian geneticist and CariGenetics founder, because of the important role Bermuda’s coral could play in the study.

Dr Tierney said: “The reefs in Bermuda are so healthy. One of the things we know is that Bermudian corals, because of their proximity to the Gulf Stream experience dramatic fluctuations in change of temperature throughout the year so they are natively already robust.

“It’s like they’ve been preparing for warmer oceans, to a certain degree or more dramatic changes over time.

“In a world where reefs are dying, why are they so healthy here? We are looking at what can make other corals healthy based on what we learn by sequencing in Bermuda.”

Dr Weldon said the research project was the second taken on by CariGenetics that was fully executed in Bermuda by Bermudians.

“The training received by The 2 Frontiers Project staff, both on collecting the coral reef samples and the extraction of the DNA in the lab was invaluable and can be used many times again in the future,” Dr Weldon said.

“What’s even more exciting is that from sample collection to analysis of results, which included what microorganisms live on, the coral reefs that we sampled, this was fully executed within 72 hours — in record-breaking time — as a project like this would normally take months, and even years to complete.”

• To learn more about CariGenetics, visit www.carigenetics.com or follow @CariGenetics on social media

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Published July 26, 2023 at 7:48 am (Updated July 26, 2023 at 7:48 am)

Island genetics firm joins study to monitor health of reefs

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