E5 Coral is a team formed by six research labs from top public U.S. universities that work together to predict phenotypic and eco-evolutionary consequences of environmental energetic epigenetic linkages.


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This project uses symbiotic, metabolically complex reef-building corals as a model system to test the connections between physiological, epigenetic, and metabolic states, and predict how population and community dynamics are influenced by epigenetically-modulated phenotypes.

This work will advance biological knowledge by delineating fundamental links (Rules of Life) between ubiquitous organismal energetic processes, epigenetics, and eco-evolutionary outcomes. The broader impacts activities parallel the project’s integrative approach, linking insights from environment x energetics x epigenetics x ecology for education into an E5 platform.

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Six Research Labs from Top Public U.S. Universities

Dr. Hollie Putnam

Putnam Lab

Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI).

Dr. Steven Roberts

Roberts Lab

Associate Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA).

Dr. Jose Eirin-Lopez

Environmental Epigenetics Lab

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences in the Institute of Environment at Florida International University (Miami, FL).

Dr. Holly Moeller

Moeller Lab

Assistant Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA).

Dr. Roger Nisbet

Nisbet Lab

Professor of Ecology, and Population and Community Ecology at UC Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA).

Ross Cunning

Dr. Ross Cunning

Cunning Lab

Coral Biologist in Shedd’s Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research (Chicago, IL).

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Mo’orea is one of the best-studied coral reef ecosystems in the world, offering a unique opportunity to study coral epigenetics.

The island of Mo’orea (French Polynesia) is an offshore barrier reef where all major coral reef types are present and accessible by small boat. Research is supported by NSF’s Moorea Coral Reef LTER, staged from the Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station on Cooks Bay.

E5 Coral latest expedition to Mo’orea took place in October of 2020.

The remote location of Mo’orea makes every trip a trepidant and challenging adventure. E5 Coral Epigenetics scientists fly thousands of miles, dive in tropical waters, bring coral samples to shore, process them in the lab where they are stored before shipped back to their labs in the U.S.

Explore Our Latest Fieldwork 

Explore Our Latest Fieldwork 

Explore Our Latest Fieldwork 

Explore Our Latest Fieldwork 

Explore Our Latest Fieldwork 

Explore Our Latest Fieldwork