Warning: We observe an increase of emails from fake travel portals like . "travelhosting.co.uk". We never send links to such portals so be vigilant!

Mar 20 – 23, 2023
Campus Garching
Europe/Berlin timezone

Organisation of photosynthetic thylakoid membranes during simulated coral bleaching - a SANS study

Mar 20, 2023, 11:50 AM
MW 2 001 - Lecture hall (Fakultät für Maschinenwesen)

MW 2 001 - Lecture hall

Fakultät für Maschinenwesen

Talk (17 + 3 min) Health and Life Sciences Proteins & Peptides seen by Neutrons


Christopher Garvey (MLZ)


Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) is a non-ionizing and non-destructive statistical probe of structure. When applied to actively metabolizing cells it can provide a perspective on structural changes associated with cell physiology. Here we report on the application of SANS to understand environmentally induced physiological changes of corals. Corals bleach under a number of stresses, one of these being thermal stresses exemplified by the 2010, 2016 and 2017 bleaching events in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The aim of this work is to utilize SANS to probe the arrangements of the intra-cellular membranes associated with photosynthetic apparatus of the symbiotic algae known as zooxanthellae or Symbiodinium living in hospice in coral cells. Here we report on the temperature induced rearrangements of photosynthetic membranes in Symbodium living within individual Aiptasia anemone specimens extracted from SANS data using a model of the structure. The SANS curve is a number of broad peaks superimposed on a Porod like decay. These shape, relative intensity and angular position of these features are analysed within a model of the organisation of membranes developed from electron microscopy. The results provide a simple perspective on the effects of temperature on the photosynthetic machinery of the symbiote.

Primary authors

Christopher Garvey (MLZ) Judith Houston (European Spallation Source) Dr Robert Corkery (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

Presentation materials

There are no materials yet.