Contact details

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

(tel) +61 (0) 733651964
(fax) +61 (0) 733654755
(email) m.pernice


Ms Annamieke Van Den Heuvel

Dr Nela Rosic
Prof. Phil Poronnik
Prof. Anders Meibom
Dr Simon Dunn
Dr Sophie Dove
Dr Sylvie Dufour
Dr Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty
Ms Rachael Middlebrook

People > Mathieu Pernice

Position: Postdoctoral staff
Last update: 08-Jan-2012


Influence of rapid environmental changes on cnidaria-dinoflagellate symbioses

My broad research interests concern symbiotic interactions among marine invertebrates in both evolutionary and physiological context. While it is widely admitted that symbiosis is an important driving force of metazoan evolution and of their adaptation to the environment, few studies evoked symbiotic interactions in relation with environmental stresses. Using a multidisciplinary integrated approach (Genomics, Physiology and Cellular biology), my current research focuses on investigating the influence of environmental changes on cnidaria-dinoflagellate symbioses in order to better understand the impact of global warming and ocean acidification in coral reef ecosystems. Recently, functional studies have suggested the key role of multiple cell death pathways, such as apoptosis and autophagy, in the bleaching process. However, despite the importance of bleaching phenomenon, the interconnectivity between these major cellular pathways and physiological responses to rapid environmental changes remains unresolved in the case of coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis. My research aims to specify the influence of various environmental stresses on the physiology of the reef building coral Acropora millepora and the sea anemone Aiptasia spp by investigating the molecular regulation of apoptotic and autophagic cellular processes in order to address different questions such as: Does during an hyperthermic stress, apoptosis and autophagy genes regulation in the host confirm the hypothesis of a “see-saw” relation? Can exposure to others environmental stresses (UVs, pH) modify the molecular cross-talk between apoptosis and autophagy? Increasing our understanding of these cellular pathways controlling cnidaria-dinoflagellate symbiosis will offer key insights into the effects of environmental and climate history on acclimatization and susceptibility of coral reef to bleaching.
Keywords: cell death pathways, climate change, Functional genomics, symbiosis


PhD Bacterial symbioses in Nautiloids excretory organs: characterisation of the symbiotic system, evolutionary and physiological aspects - University Pierre and Marie Curie (2006)
BSc(Hons) Integrated Biology of Invertebrates - University Pierre and Marie Curie (2003)


Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship (2008), Singer-Polignac foundation (2007), Pacific Fund (Government of New Caledonia) (2006), Fellowship Marie Curie Training Site for Marine Microbiology (2005), Bonus Quality Research from the French Ministry of Research and Education (2005), PhD Fellowship from the French Ministry of Research and Education (2003)


Pernice M, Meibom A, Van Den Heuvel A, Kopp C, Domart-Coulon I, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S (2012) A single-cell view of ammonium assimilation in coral–dinoflagellate symbiosis. The ISME Journal - in press

Dunn SR, Pernice M, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Dove S (2012) Thermal stress promotes mitochondrial degradation in symbiotic cnidarians: Are the batteries of the reef going to run out?. PLoS One 7: 39024-39024

Pernice M, Dunn SR, Miard T, Dufour S, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2011) Regulation of Apoptotic Mediators Reveals Dynamic Responses to Thermal Stress in the Reef Building Coral Acropora millepora. PLoS One 6: 16095-16095

Ponton F, Chapuis M, Pernice M, Sword GA, Simpson SJ (2011) Evaluation of potential reference genes for reverse transcription-qPCR studies of physiological responses in Drosophila melanogaster.. Journal of Insect Physiology 57: 840-850

Rosic NN, Pernice M, Rodriguez-Lanetty M, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2010) Validation of Housekeeping Genes for Gene Expression Studies in Symbiodinium Exposed to Thermal and Light Stress. MARINE BIOTECHNOLOGY - in press

Rosic NN, Pernice M, Dunn SR, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2010) Differential Regulation by Heat Stress of Novel Cytochrome P450 Genes from the Dinoflagellate Symbionts of Reef-Building Corals. APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY 76: 2823-2829

Quevrain E, Domart-Coulon I, Pernice M, Bourguet-Kondracki ML (2009) Novel natural parabens produced by a Microbulbifer bacterium in its calcareous sponge host Leuconia nivea. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY 11: 1527-1539

Pernice M, Boucher J, Boucher-Rodoni R, Joannot P, Bustamante P (2008) Comparative bioaccumulation of trace elements between Nautilus pompilius and Nautilus macromphalus (Cephalopoda: Nautiloidea) from Vanuatu and New Caledonia. ECOTOXICOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY 72: 365-371

Pernice M, Destoumieux-Garzon D, Peduzzi J, Rebuffat S, Boucher-Rodoni R (2007) Identification of a Vibrio strain producing antimicrobial agents in the excretory organs of Nautilus pompilius (Cephalopoda : Nautiloidea). REVIEWS IN FISH BIOLOGY AND FISHERIES 17: 197-205

Pernice M, Wetzel S, Gros O, Boucher-Rodoni R, Dubilier N (2007) Enigmatic dual symbiosis in the excretory organ of Nautilus macromphalus (Cephalopoda : Nautiloidea). PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 274: 1143-1152

Pernice M, Pichon D, Domart-Coulon I, Favet J, Boucher-Rodoni R (2007) Primary co-culture as a complementary approach to explore the diversity of bacterial associations in marine invertebrates: the example of Nautilus macromphalus (Cephalopoda : Nautiloidea). MARINE BIOLOGY 150: 749-757

Pernice M, Deutsch JS, Andouche A, Boucher-Rodoni R, Bonnaud L (2006) Unexpected variation of Hox genes' homeodomains in cephalopods. MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION 40: 872-879