Associate Program 1: Philippine marine mollusk biodiversity inventory
Rosenberg (leader), Concepcion, Olivera, Distel
This study is designed to provide the most pertinent information to support conservation goals, while supporting the focused research of APs 2 and 3 and the broad sampling required to provide a diverse set of bacterial isolates for AP4 by providing mollusk identification, suitable molecular investigations, sample archiving and dissemination of results via appropriate databases. The main sampling area will be on a transect from Cebu City to Zamboanga. Sampling will focus on coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and intertidal flats. AP1 will provide training in taxonomy and cooperate in outreach.
Associate Program 2: Bacterial symbionts of gastropod molluscs: cultivation, drug discovery, and neurological activity
Schmidt (leader), Olivera, Haygood, Concepcion, Rosenberg
AP2 will focus on microbes associated with gastropod molluscs. It will provide chemistry support to AP3 and 4. It will provide training opportunities in microbiology, neurophysiology, biochemistry and structural elucidation.
Associate Program 3: Microbes associated with shipworms (Teredinidae) as sources of drug leads and cellulolytic enzymes
Haygood (leader), Distel, Schmidt, Concepcion, Rosenberg
AP3 will build upon an existing collaboration between Haygood and Distel's groups and that of Carlos Soares, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (see letter of support). It will focus on specific symbionts as well as other associated microbes of shipworms and other herbivorous molluscs, and will characterize both secondary metabolites and enzymes for converting biomass to biofuels. The research will include both proven and innovative cultivation methods and state-of-the-art cultivation-independent community analysis and sophisticated microscopy. It will provide cultivation, and microscopy support to AP2 andAP4. It will provide training opportunities in microbiology, molecular biology and microscopy.
Associate Program 4: Screening of mollusk isolates for biological activity and enzymes for biomass conversion.
Concepcion (leader), Olivera, Schmidt, Distel
AP4 will combine existing assets in antimicrobial and anti-cancer screening in the Philippines with neurological, cancer and cellulase screens available in the US participants laboratories with the ultimate goal of transferring most screening technology to the host country by the end of the project. AP4 will also take a lead role in data stewardship and technology transfer to the private sector. It will provide the screening for the broad-based cultivation effort in the Philippines as well as support the focused efforts of AP2 and 3. It will provide training opportunities in marine biotechnology and conservation outreach. We plan to develop biodiversity education for primary school children in areas of high marine biodiversity. The ICBG team will build upon this foundation to help teachers and their students to monitor key molluscan species in their area. We hope to encourage students to become emissaries for conservation through their involvement as "citizen scientists" in reporting the state of their local biodiversity.