It’s the season for giving, and what better way to show you care about the health of our planet’s coral reef ecosystems than by directly helping to fund research aimed at bettering our understanding of these increasingly imperiled habitats. Dr. Mikhail Matz of the University of Texas – Austin is reaching out to coral enthusiasts everywhere to help expand his research into how Caribbean stony corals are able to adapt and survive through environmental changes. By parsing through the genetic code of these creatures, he hopes to better understand the speed with which corals are able to evolve to meet the challenges brought by climate change, and, ultimately, how we might best ensure their continued survival.

His lab has a kickstarter-style fundraising drive (link) in effect for the next three days, and for the low, low price of just $25, you can directly fund the expense of sequencing a coral. What a perfect stocking stuffer for all those hard-to-shop-for reef nerds out there! Rather than picking up another coral frag that you don’t really need, why not give a little back to the reef by helping Dr. Matz?

Round Starlet Coral Siderastrea siderea. Credit: Mary Stafford-Smith.

The Round Starlet Coral Siderastrea siderea is one of the target organisms of Dr. Matz’s research. Credit: Mary Stafford-Smith.

For the particularly well-heeled and generous coral lover, there is even the option to fully fund all the genomic work required for a single species. At $7,500, it’s likely to be out of the holiday budget for many reefkeepers, but cutting edge science doesn’t come cheap. Still, if you’ve got the funds, this is an exceptional way to show your love for the reefs. You’ll even get special acknowledgement in the peer-reviewed research your investment will produce.

So what are you waiting for? These genomes won’t sequence themselves…

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