I study how green fluorescence works as a stress indicator in corals and sea anemones in response to ocean acidification conditions. Fluorescent proteins make up roughly 14% of the coral's total protein content but their physiological role has yet to be determined. I worked on correlating the relationship of GFP to antioxidant capability, maintaining intracellular pH, and the task of calcification under ocean acidification conditions.
There are currently no available methods to determine coral reef physiology except by disruptive sampling. However, coral reefs have already been in such a dramatic decline that it would not be beneficial to remove these animals from their environment. This process would quickly deplete the already-declining coral reef coverage. Thus, there is a great demand for an in vitro non-invasive method to determine coral reef health.