Our mission here in Hawaii is in collaboration with Drs. Dorota Czerucka and Francois Seneca from Centre Scientifique de Monaco (CSM). This team is working on a project on the development of the Aiptasia sea anemone as a model for host pathogen interactions from corals to humans. Part of this process is to collect samples from coral colonies here in Hawaii that are showing abnormal growths and attempt to understand why the growths are occurring and how the corals are reacting to and fighting the growths. In doing so, because of similarities in innate immunity in humans, it is also possible to apply this research to human health and immunity.
Collecting the samples is fairly simple, albeit tedious, work and the biggest challenge in this part of the research process is ensuring the samples are preserved correctly for a safe and healthy return to the laboratory in Monaco. The photo below shows an example of a coral with an abnormal growth (the top part).