Postdoctoral Fellow (coral disease), Healthy and Resilient GBR Program
I was awarded my PhD in 2013 by James Cook University, where I explored ecology and microbiology of coral disease termed black band disease (BBD). BBD is a polymicrobial disease affecting numerous corals species worldwide. My key findings include coral disease dynamics in host populations, important environmental drivers such as seawater temperature and light, and microbial community shifts leading to disease onset. Since 2013, I have been employed at AIMS as a postdoctoral scientist in a research team working on the ecology of marine microorganisms on coral reefs and continuing to pursue coral disease-related studies.
  • 2013 Doctor of Philosophy Cum Laude, Marine Biology, James Cook University, Townsville.
  • 2007 Graduate Diploma of Research Methods, James Cook University.
  • 2002 BSc, Tohoku University, Japan.
Current Research Activities
My key research interests are (1) ecological interactions of marine microbial communities influencing the health of reef corals, and (2) role of coral disease in host coral population dynamics during the recovery from mass mortality events.

My current research projects include:
  • Taxonomic and functional characterisation of the complex microbial consortia during the onset of coral disease, using metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches.
  • Functional response of coral disease-associated microbial communities to changing environment.
  • Characterisation of the novel Archaeal lineage uniquely associated with coral disease lesions.
Expert Committees and Boards
  • Co-chair in a symposium session, "Coral-microbe interactions and disease", the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 2012.
The following are a selection of recent publications.

Sato Y, Civiello M, Bell SC, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2016) Integrated approach to understanding the onset and pathogenesis of black band disease in corals. Environmental Microbiology 18(3): 752-765

Bourne DG, van der Zee MJJ, Botte E, Sato Y (2013) Sulfur-oxidizing bacterial populations within cyanobacterial dominated coral disease lesions. Environmental Microbiology Reports 5(4): 518-524

Sato Y, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2013) Pyrosequencing-based profiling of archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA genes identifies a novel archaeon associated with black band disease in corals. Environmental Microbiology 15(11): 2994-3007

Glas MS, Sato Y, Ulstrup KE, Bourne DG (2012) Biogeochemical conditions determine virulence of black band disease in corals. The ISME Journal 6: 1526-1534.

Sato Y, Bourne DG, Willis BL (2011) Effects of temperature and light on the progression of black band disease on the reef coral, Montipora hispida. Coral Reefs 30: 753-761.

Bourne DG, Muirhead AN, Sato Y (2011) Changes in sulfate-reducing bacterial populations during the onset of black band disease. The ISME Journal 5: 559-564.

Glas MS, Motti CA, Negri AP, Sato Y, Froscio S, Humpage AR, Krock B, Cembella A, Bourne DG (2010) Cyanotoxins are not implicated in the etiology of coral black band disease outbreaks on Pelorus Island, Great Barrier Reef. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 73: 43-54.

Sato Y, Willis BL, Bourne DG (2010) Successional changes in bacterial communities during the development of black band disease on the reef coral, Montipora hispida. The ISME Journal 4: 203-214.

Sato Y, Bourne DG, Willis BL (2009) Dynamics of seasonal outbreaks of black band disease in an assemblage of Montipora species at Pelorus Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences 276: 2795-2803.

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