Project proposal details

Please look carefully through the proposal details below. If you are interested in the project then contact the supervisor, explaining why you are interested and any background which makes you a good fit for the project.

If this is an external project, the lead supervisor may have suggested someone at Imperial College or the NHM who could act as an internal supervisor and you should also contact them. If the project is external and no internal has been proposed then you must find an internal supervisor before starting the project.

Please pay close attention to any extra notes on requirements (such as being able to drive or to speak particular languages) or the application process. There may be specific limitations on the project availability: if there are then they will be clearly shown further down the page.

Project title
Understanding the function of microbial associates of coral reef fauna using metagenomics
Contact name
Emma Ransome
Contact email
Project based at
Silwood Park (Imperial)
Project description
Microbial associates are important for the health and success of their host organisms. On coral reefs, studies to understand these associations have been largely limited to corals and some easily accessible sponges. However, 30-75% of the coral reef habitat is relatively inaccessible, but contains a vast diversity of invertebrates including sponges and ascidians. These species are known to play important roles in carbon and nutrient pathways in coral reef systems, but little is known about their microbial communities. Because anthropogenic disturbances that are causing declines in coral communities may create favourable environments for these filter-feeding organisms, it is imperative that we understand more about their role in these ecosystems. This study will use metagenomic approaches to investigate the diversity and function of microbiomes associated with cryptic sponges and ascidians usually found living within the complex skeleton of the coral reef. Studies such as this are imperative to allow a better understanding of the variety of complex functional roles that microbes play in these threatened and changing ecosystems.
Date uploaded

Project proposal limitations

The project proposer has indicated that there are some limitations to the availability of this project. It may only be available at certain times of year or suit a specific project length. It may also need skills taught to students on a particular course or courses.

Research project proposals are usually part of an active research programme. If supervisors have stated limitations to a proposal, then they are unlikely to have any flexibility. If you are very interested in the topic but have problems with the stated limitations, the supervisor may still be happy to talk to you about other options around the proposal, but you should not expect that any alternative arrangements can be made.

Project length limitations
3.5 months, 5 months, 9 months
Available date limitations
Autumn (Sept-Oct), Winter (January)
Suitable for
Ecology Evolution and Conservation, Conservation Science, Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MSc), Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MRes), Ecological Applications, Ecosystem and Environmental Change MRes, Taxonomy and Biodiversity [NHM MSc], Biosystematics [NHM MRes]