My main research interests are in marine symbiosis and coral reef conservation. I am especially interested in the molecular and metabolic processes underlying symbiotic interactions between corals and their associated microorganisms. I currently work as a postdoctoral research fellow in the UTS Climate Change Cluster (C3), working with Associate Professor David Suggett in the Future Reefs Research Program.
In 2018, I was awarded a long-term postdoctoral fellowship by the Human Frontier Science Program to explore the metabolic networks between coral dinoflagellate-bacterial associations, and how exchange between the partners might contribute to the resilience of coral reef ecosystems in changing environments.
Prior to my position at UTS, I completed a PhD using metabolomics and transcriptomics to investigate the nutritional implications of partner switching in the coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ. Before that, I was Marine Conservation Manager at Big Blue Conservation in Koh Tao, Thailand.
My research career has provided me with a broad interdisciplinary experience, including ecological-based coral reef restoration projects and Marine Protection Area development in Thailand, to functional genomics of yeast at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge. I have also worked in science and policy; prior to starting my postdoctoral fellowship I was a scientist with the Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity team at the Ministry for Primary Industries in Wellington, New Zealand. I am the Marine advisor for BSAC Thailand, and have been awarded grants from the Company of Biologists, PADI Project A.W.A.R.E., and a PhD scholarship by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund.
I am a member of several professional organisations, such as the Metabolomics Society, British Ecological Society and the International Society for Reef Studies. I am also a PADI, SSI and BSAC diving instructor.
Can supervise: YES
Microbial metabolic networks: the hidden key to resilience of coral algal endosymbionts.
Employing state of the art molecular, imaging and microbiological techniques to identify the key metabolic networks between Symbiodiniacea-bacterial associations that drive Symbiodiniacea ecological success.
Harmless refugee or dangerous invader? Identification of traits that allow a subtropical coral species to thrive in Sydney Harbour.
Using in situ 3D mapping and environmental manipulation experiments to investigate the capacity for (sub)tropical corals to establish, survive, grow, reproduce and thrive in temperate reefs, and the impacts of the colonisation upon native corals and existing unique, important ecosystems. (In collaboration with the Univeristy of Sydney)
Help our marine life to stop eating microplastic “Junk” food.
Developing a mechanistic tool that concentrates microplastic particles into larger “clumps” by exploiting their chemical and physical qualities; these clumps can then be easily removed with existing ocean-pollution clean-up technology. (In collaboration with the University of New South Wales)
Matthews, JL, Raina, J-B, Kahlke, T, Seymour, JR, van Oppen, MJH & Suggett, DJ 2020, 'Symbiodiniaceae-bacteria interactions: rethinking metabolite exchange in reef-building corals as multi-partner metabolic networks', ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 1675-1687.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sproles, AE, Oakley, CA, Matthews, JL, Peng, L, Owen, JG, Grossman, AR, Weis, VM & Davy, SK 2019, 'Proteomics quantifies protein expression changes in a model cnidarian colonised by a thermally tolerant but suboptimal symbiont.', The ISME Journal, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 2334-2345.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The acquisition of thermally tolerant algal symbionts by corals has been proposed as a natural or assisted mechanism of increasing coral reef resilience to anthropogenic climate change, but the cell-level processes determining the performance of new symbiotic associations are poorly understood. We used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to investigate the effects of an experimentally induced symbiosis on the host proteome of the model sea anemone Exaiptasia pallida. Aposymbiotic specimens were colonised by either the homologous dinoflagellate symbiont (Breviolum minutum) or a thermally tolerant, ecologically invasive heterologous symbiont (Durusdinium trenchii). Anemones containing D. trenchii exhibited minimal expression of Niemann-Pick C2 proteins, which have predicted biochemical roles in sterol transport and cell recognition, and glutamine synthetases, which are thought to be involved in nitrogen assimilation and recycling between partners. D. trenchii-colonised anemones had higher expression of methionine-synthesising betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferases and proteins with predicted oxidative stress response functions. Multiple lysosome-associated proteins were less abundant in both symbiotic treatments compared with the aposymbiotic treatment. The differentially abundant proteins are predicted to represent pathways that may be involved in nutrient transport or resource allocation between partners. These results provide targets for specific experiments to elucidate the mechanisms underpinning compensatory physiology in the coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis.
Matthews, JL, Oakley, CA, Lutz, A, Hillyer, KE, Roessner, U, Grossman, AR, Weis, VM & Davy, SK 2018, 'Partner switching and metabolic flux in a model cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis.', Proceedings. Biological sciences, vol. 285, no. 1892.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Metabolite exchange is fundamental to the viability of the cnidarian-Symbiodiniaceae symbiosis and survival of coral reefs. Coral holobiont tolerance to environmental change might be achieved through changes in Symbiodiniaceae species composition, but differences in the metabolites supplied by different Symbiodiniaceae species could influence holobiont fitness. Using 13C stable-isotope labelling coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, we characterized newly fixed carbon fate in the model cnidarian Exaiptasia pallida (Aiptasia) when experimentally colonized with either native Breviolum minutum or non-native Durusdinium trenchii Relative to anemones containing B. minutum, D. trenchii-colonized hosts exhibited a 4.5-fold reduction in 13C-labelled glucose and reduced abundance and diversity of 13C-labelled carbohydrates and lipogenesis precursors, indicating symbiont species-specific modifications to carbohydrate availability and lipid storage. Mapping carbon fate also revealed significant alterations to host molecular signalling pathways. In particular, D. trenchii-colonized hosts exhibited a 40-fold reduction in 13C-labelled scyllo-inositol, a potential interpartner signalling molecule in symbiosis specificity. 13C-labelling also highlighted differential antioxidant- and ammonium-producing pathway activities, suggesting physiological responses to different symbiont species. Such differences in symbiont metabolite contribution and host utilization may limit the proliferation of stress-driven symbioses; this contributes valuable information towards future scenarios that select in favour of less-competent symbionts in response to environmental change.
Valderrama Ballesteros, L, Matthews, JL & Hoeksema, BW 2018, 'Pollution and coral damage caused by derelict fishing gear on coral reefs around Koh Tao, Gulf of Thailand', Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 135, pp. 1107-1116.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Matthews, JL, Crowder, CM, Oakley, CA, Lutz, A, Roessner, U, Meyer, E, Grossman, AR, Weis, VM & Davy, SK 2017, 'Optimal nutrient exchange and immune responses operate in partner specificity in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis', PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, vol. 114, no. 50, pp. 13194-13199.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Matthews, JL, Sproles, AE, Oakley, CA, Grossman, AR, Weis, VM & Davy, SK 2016, 'Menthol-induced bleaching rapidly and effectively provides experimental aposymbiotic sea anemones (Aiptasia sp.) for symbiosis investigations', JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, vol. 219, no. 3, pp. 306-310.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Hoeksema, BW & Matthews, JL 2015, 'Partial bleaching in an assemblage of small apozooxanthellate corals of the genera Heteropsammia and Heterocyathus', CORAL REEFS, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 1227-1227.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Krull, CR, Ranjard, L, Landers, TJ, Ismar, SMH, Matthews, JL & Hauber, ME 2012, 'Analyses of sex and individual differences in vocalizations of Australasian gannets using a dynamic time warping algorithm', JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, vol. 132, no. 2, pp. 1189-1198.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Hoeksema, BW & Matthews, JL 2011, 'Contrasting bleaching patterns in mushroom coral assemblages at Koh Tao, Gulf of Thailand', CORAL REEFS, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 95-95.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Matthews, JL, Ismar, SMH & Hauber, ME 2008, 'Seaweed provisioning behaviour confers thermal benefit for nesting Australasian gannets (Morus serrator)', BEHAVIOUR, vol. 145, pp. 1823-1837.