EEB Ph.D. student, Alison Gould

EEB graduate student Alison Gould was the focus of a recent Student Spotlight on the Rackham Graduate School website.  

Gould studies a bioluminescent symbiosis between the coral reef cardinalfish and a luminous bacterium that the fish houses in a specialized light organ. “Understanding how specificity arises and is maintained in such symbioses is especially important now, as changes in the marine environment, such as increases in sea surface temperature and acidification, are occurring more rapidly. These changes have the potential to de-couple symbiotic associations by altering the ecology of both organisms.”

Many bioluminescent fish are found in the deep or open ocean and are thus difficult to study in their natural environments. “There are over 450 fish that host luminous bacteria, but this is one of the few found in coral reefs, which makes them much easier to study in nature. Therefore, we can use this fish as a model for examining specific symbioses between fish and bacterium.”

Read the full Student Spotlight on the Rackham Graduate School website.