Contact details

Dr Linda Tonk
Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Queensland
Gehrmann Laboratories (#60)
St Lucia QLD 4072 Australia

(email) l.tonkuq.


Ms Margaux Carmichael
Mr Matheus A. Mello Athayde

Dr Pim Bongaerts
Dr Eugenia Sampayo
Dr Sander Scheffers
Miss Verena Schrameyer
Dr Ray Berkelmans
Dr Madeleine van Oppen
Prof. Todd LaJeunesse
Dr Petra Visser
Prof. Jef Huisman
Dr Rainer Kurmayer
Dr Eva Schober

People > Linda Tonk

Position: Postdoctoral staff
Last update: 27-Mar-2014


Vulnerability of the GBR to coral bleaching: symbiont diversity as a measure of reef risk and resilience.

Linda received her Master of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and completed her PhD at the department of Aquatic Microbiology, University of Amsterdam on the impact of environmental factors on toxic and bioactive peptide production by harmful cyanobacteria. Her research interests lie in microbiology and coral reef ecology. She now works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland. Her main project focuses on Symbiodinium diversity on the Great Barrier Reef and their importance to the reefs vulnerability and coral bleaching. The genotype of dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium) residing within the tissues of many reef invertebrates appears to be highly diverse and play an important role in determining the environmental tolerance range of their host. Nonetheless, we currently have limited knowledge on the distribution ranges of Symbiodinium on the Great Barrier Reef. To understand how symbiont community diversity, geographical range and host specificity is affected by environmental factors such as temperature and turbidity Linda is currently working on a database that encompasses the symbiont identity of a wide range of hosts and biogeographical areas of the Great Barrier Reef using DGGE & ITS2. This database will eventually function as a direct resource for assessing reef sensitivity to a wide range of environmental or human based stressors affecting reef health and provide an assessment of community change related to climate driven stress. It will allow managers, industry and government institutions to more effectively target conservation efforts of the Great Barrier Reef.
Keywords: dgge, dinoflagellate, genetics, Great Barrier Reef, molecular biology, Symbiodinium, symbiont diversity


PhD Toxic Cyanobacteria - Universiteit van Amsterdam (2007)
MSc Marine Biology - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (2000)


Outstanding student poster award: American Society of Limnology & Oceanography (ASLO) summer meeting Santiago de Compostella, Spain (2005)


Tonk L, Bongaerts P, Sampayo EM, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2013) SymbioGBR: a web-based database of Symbiodinium associated with cnidarian hosts on the Great Barrier Reef. BMC Ecology 13: 7-7

Tonk L, Sampayo EM, Magno-Canto M, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2013) Host-Specific Interactions with Environmental Factors Shape the Distribution of Symbiodinium across the Great Barrier Reef. PLoS One 8: 68533-68533

Fransolet D, Roberty S, Herman AC, Tonk L, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Plumier JC (2013) Increased Cell Proliferation and Mucocyte Density in the Sea Anemone Aiptasia pallida Recovering from Bleaching. PLoS One 8: 65015-65015

Tonk L, Welker M, Huisman J, Visser PM (2009) Production of cyanopeptolins, anabaenopeptins, and microcystins by the harmful cyanobacteria Anabaena 90 and Microcystis PCC 7806. HARMFUL ALGAE 8: 219-224

Frade PR, Bongaerts P, Winkelhagen AJS, Tonk L, Bak RPM (2008) In situ photobiology of corals over large depth ranges: A multivariate analysis on the roles of environment, host, and algal symbiont. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY 53: 2711-2723

Tonk L, van de Waal DB, Slot P, Huisman J, Matthijs HCP, Visser PM (2008) Amino acid availability determines the ratio of microcystin variants in the cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii. FEMS MICROBIOLOGY ECOLOGY 65: 383-390

Kardinaal WEA, Tonk L, Janse I, Hol S, Slot P, Huisman J, Visser PM (2007) Competition for light between toxic and nontoxic strains of the harmful cyanobacterium Microcystis. APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY 73: 2939-2946

Tonk L, Bosch K, Visser PM, Huisman J (2007) Salt tolerance of the harmful cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa. AQUATIC MICROBIAL ECOLOGY 46: 117-123

Tonk L, Visser PM, Christiansen G, Dittmann E, Snelder EOFM, Wiedner C, Mur LR, Huisman J (2005) The microcystin composition of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii changes toward a more toxic variant with increasing light intensity. APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY 71: 5177-5181

Diekmann OE, Bak RPM, Tonk L, Stam WT, Olsen JL (2002) No habitat correlation of zooxanthellae in the coral genus Madracis on a Curacao reef. MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES 227: 221-232