Current Research

Changing climates and ongoing anthropogenic habitat modifications threaten natural ecosystems worldwide. In response to these threats, a species has four choices: i) remain in the natal habitat but suffer reduced fitness, ii) acclimate to current conditions by modifying their physiologies, iii) adapt to the local environment through natural selection on standing genetic variation, or iv) disperse to new, more favorable environments. Research in the Davies lab studies the potential roles of acclimation, adaptation, and dispersal in an organism’s response to rapid climate change.

Predicting persistence becomes more challenging when a species’ fitness depends upon interactions between multiple partners. For corals, their fitness is tightly coupled with their symbiotic relationship with algae of the family Symbiodiniaceae, and this symbiosis is strongly influenced by increasing seawater temperatures. Research in the Davies lab integrates eco-evolutionary experiments with genomic and environmental data to determine how corals and their symbionts interact with each other and their environments to determine symbiosis outcomes under rapid climate change.


Selected Publications

  • Valadez-Ingersoll M, Aguirre Carrión PJ, Bodnar C, Desai NA, Gilmore TD and SW Davies (2023). Nutrient deprivation differentially affects gene expression, immunity, and pathogen susceptibility across symbiotic states in a model cnidarian. In press at Proceedings of the Royal Society B RSPB-2023-1685:1-39.
  • Grupstra CGB, Gómez-Corrales M, Fifer J, Aichelman HE, Meyer-Kaiser K, Prada C and SW Davies (2024). Integrating cryptic diversity into coral evolution, symbiosis, and conservation. Nature Ecology & Evolution: 1-15.
  • Davies SW, Gamache MH, Howe-Kerr LI, Kriefall NG, Baker AC, Banaszak AT, Bay LK, Bellantuono AJ, Bhattacharya D, Chan CX, Claar DC, Coffroth MA, Cunning R, Davy SK, del Campo J, Frommlet JC, Fuess LE, González-Pech RA, Goulet TL, Hoadley KD, Howells EJ, Hume BCC, Kemp DW, Kenkel CD, Kitchen SA, LaJeunesse TC, Lin S,McIlroy SE, McMinds R, Nitschke MR, Oakley CA, Peixoto RS, Prada C, Putnam HM, Quigley KM, Reich HG, Reimer JD, Rodriguez-Lanetty M, Rosales SM, Saad OS, Sampayo EM, Santos SR, Shoguchi E, Smith EG, Stat M, Stephens TG, Strader ME, Suggett DJ, Swain TD, Tran C, Traylor-Knowles N, Voolstra CR, Warner ME, Weis V, Wright RM, Xiang T, Yamashita H, Ziegler M, Correa AMS and Parkinson JE (2023). Building consensus around the assessment and interpretation of Symbiodiniaceae diversity. PeerJ 11:e15023.
  • Bove CB, Valadez Ingersoll M and SW Davies (2022). Help me symbionts, you’re my only hope: Approaches to accelerate our understanding of holobiont interactions. Integrative and Comparative Biology: 1756-1769.
  • Fifer J, Yasuda N, Yamakita T, Bove CB and SW Davies (2022). Genetic divergence and range expansion in a western North Pacific coral. Science of the Total Environment 813: 152423:1-12.
  • Rivera HE and SW Davies (2021). Symbiosis maintenance in the facultative coral Oculina arbuscula relies on nitrogen cycling, cell cycle modulation, and immunity. Scientific Reports 11:21226.
  • Davies SW, Putnam HM, Ainsworth T, Baum JK, Bove CB, Crosby SC, Côté IM, Duplouy A, Fulweiler RW, Griffin AJ, Hanley TC, Hill T, Humanes A, Mangubhai S, Metaxas A, Parker LM, Rivera HE, Silbiger NJ, Smith NS, Spalding AK, Traylor-Knowles N, Weigel BL, Wright RM and AE Bates (2021). Promoting inclusive metrics of success and impact to dismantle a discriminatory reward system in science. Plos Biology 19(6):e3001282.
  • Rivera HE, Aichelman HE, Fifer JE, Kriefall NG, Wuitchik DM, Wuitchik SJS and SW Davies (2021). A framework for understanding gene expression plasticity and its influence on stress tolerance. Molecular Ecology 30(6):1381-1397.

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