Research Spotlight - Dr. John Gold (TAMU-CC) 

When C-IMAGE II began in January 2015 new consortium members at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) focused a number of their research questions on the genomic changes in fish after oil spills. Dr. John Gold, a researcher from TAMU-CC, studies Population Genomics of fish species like Red Snapper and Golden Tilefish in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Genomics focuses on all the genes (the collective genes) of a chromosome and interactions between individual genes, where genetics focuses on function of a single gene. Gold has studied Population Genomics of other exploited fish including King Mackerel and Red Drum, but his C-IMAGE research will focus on population impacts of oil spills.

 

John Gold takes tissue samples from oil-impacted fish for later genomics analysis.  Gold's main research questions center around understanding the future of a species including (1) what types of genetic changes occur in oil-impacted fish, and (2) will future species successfully reproduce after being impacted by oil and dispersants?

Gold benefits from new technologies to aid his research. "In this case, it's the field of genomics, which involves the next generation sequencing to obtain thousands of genetic markers" Gold said. Next generation sequencing technologies have increased the number of detected micro-satellites from 

fifteen - typical in traditional studies, into the thousands, which increases the power of Gold's research and results.

Although TAMU-Corpus Christi is new to C-IMAGE II, they have quickly become involved in several tasks. Paul Montagna, Melissa Rohal, Travis Washburn, and Rick Kalke are involved in studying oil-sediment deposition, fate, and impacts (Task 3). John Gold, Megan Robillard, David Portnoy, Greg Stuntz, Jennifer Wetz, Wes Tunnell, Matt Ajemian, and Tara Toppin study hydrocarbon impacts on fishes and invertebrates (Task 4), and David Yoskowitz focuses on ecosystem modeling (Task 6). The expertise from all TAMU-CC and Harte Institute members will be crucial in constructing a holistic view of oil spills in Gulf ecosystems.

This article is courtesy of the C-Image-II July 2015 Newsletter, produced by the USF College of Marine Science.  

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