Coral symbionts belong to a diverse group of dinoflagellate species from the family Symbiodiniaceae and the study of their role as symbionts has been a focus of marine biologists for decades. Performing fieldwork at Lizard Island, a remote location in the northern section of the GBR, Ph.D. candidate Cláudio Brandão from the University of Aveiro (CESAM/Functional Phycology Lab), is uncovering new aspects of the ecology of symbiodiniaceans during a free-living phase in their life cycle. Here, Cláudio explains how these tiny organisms can branch out on a solo mission to construct an alternative refuge to their coral homes.
Cláudio explains how Jacques Cousteau – known as the pioneer of scuba diving gear and famed for his exploration of the Earth’s oceans – inspired him to pursue a career in marine biology.
The Legendary Marine Explorer
“My father had the whole collection of the Jacques Cousteau movies and I watched these several times over. When I was young, I wanted to be like Cousteau – to study what is underneath the surface. I wanted to understand why certain organisms behave the way they do, how nature works, and how everything is interconnected.” Cláudio Brandão, University of Aveiro, Portugal
“I joined my current scientific group first as a volunteer during my bachelor’s degree in marine biology.” Being exposed to the team´s research on microalgae and especially coral symbionts, Cláudio then went on to do his master’s thesis on aspects of the free-living life history of symbiodiniaceans
and got so hooked that “after my master’s degree, I knew I wanted to know more and more about the ecology of symbiodiniaceans.”