UROP Proceedings 2022-23

School of Science Department of Ocean Science 55 Learning of Basic Molecular Biology Skills in Non-model Marine Organisms Supervisor: WU, Longjun / OCES Student: DALMIA, Ayush / SSCI Course: UROP1000, Summer Cnidaria is one of the most enigmatic phyla among metazoans for its remarkable potential to undergo reverse development (RD). Samples including Turritopsis sp. and an unidentified species were classified into four classes and their morphological alterations were chronologically recorded. The effect of physical injury on Turritopsis’s medusae, pigmentation repositioning, use of the pen-strep antibiotic mix, and formation of unusual bulges from the medusae were noted during the experiment. Molecular bioassays were not performed during the experiment. The study offers some interesting physical transformation evidence that might be key to the sample’s survival and might offer potential therapeutic applications for age-related diseases such as progeria. Learning of Basic Molecular Biology Skills in Non-model Marine Organisms Supervisor: WU, Longjun / OCES Student: GO, Leeanne Jewel Caoile / SSCI Course: UROP1000, Summer This report documents our research project which investigates the diversity, distribution, and abundance of zooplankton in Hong Kong's coastal waters. Three sampling trips have been completed, with changes made to the original proposal plan due to inclement weather and equipment issues. The report highlights challenges such as scheduling sampling trips, identifying zooplankton samples, and RNA extraction, despite which significant progress was made in optimizing and fine-tuning the methodology. Data analysis has not yet begun, but the samples will be sent for RNA sequencing once sufficient RNA is extracted. The project and the challenges encountered represent a crucial step towards understanding zooplankton in Hong Kong's coastal waters, emphasizing the need for continued research and standardized protocols. Characterising Coral Reef Function Across Anthropogenic Gradients Supervisor: WYATT, Alex / OCES Student: LAM, Horace / SSCI Course: UROP1100, Fall Corals reefs are one of the most biodiverse and valuable marine ecosystems in the world. They are known as the tropical rainforest of the ocean due to the richness in biodiversity (Biodiversity, n.d.). Corals are in fact composed of many small animals named polyps, that live in colonies. They form an exoskeleton with calcium carbonate to protect their soft body tissues. These exoskeleton of the polyps forms the rocky structure that we see when we go diving and is also the well-known characteristic of corals (What an underwater heatwave means for the Great Barrier Reef, 2022). The speed of this coral building process ranges between species but overall, it is a slow-process, much slower than a tree can grow. Acropora, which is the fastest growing species, can grow up to 100mm per year, but other species have much slower growth rates (Dullo, WolfChristian,2005). Therefore, all the large rocky coral reefs may have gone through hundreds or thousands of years of growth to get to the size that we see today. So, the loss of these corals is an important issue because they cannot be recovered in a short period of time. Coral reefs around the globe are now facing threats brought about by the rise in seawater temperature and seawater acidification (Nathaniel R. Mollica et al.,2018).