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Photograph of Anny Cardenas

Anny Cardenas Assistant Professor Biology

Additional Positions at AU
Graduate Director, Biology
Dr. Cárdenas is a microbial ecologist interested in microbiome research. Her research has focused on understanding the diversity and function of microbial communities associated with corals and other marine invertebrates. The goal of her lab is to better understand the complex relationships between microbes and their hosts using a blend of classical culturing techniques and multiomics data (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metabolomics).
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2024

  • BIO-110 General Biology I

  • BIO-110 General Biology I

  • BIO-110 General Biology I

  • BIO-110 General Biology I

  • BIO-466 Evolution

Fall 2024

  • BIO-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Microbiomes

  • BIO-697 Research Methodology Biology

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

  1. Microbiome-mediated mechanisms that support adaptation to environmental change: Microbiomes (i.e. host-associated microbes) can have a wide range of effects on the host's phenotype. For example, microbiomes respond to new environmental conditions by rearranging their composition. These microbial compositional changes can benefit the host by acting as a source of phenotypic plasticity, allowing the host to rapidly respond to new environmental challenges. Dr. Cárdenas’s lab investigates the microbiomes of aquatic hosts in the context of changing environmental conditions to identify microbial strategies that support host environmental adaptation.
  2. Interactions between the algal symbiont (Symbiodiniaceae) and prokaryotic communities of the coral holobiont:  Members of the Symbiodiniaceae family are intracellular algal symbionts of a variety of marine invertebrates, but they are best known for their symbiosis with corals. Symbiodiniaceae are greatly responsible for the evolutionary success of coral reefs in oligotrophic tropical waters as they supply most of the carbon and energy required to meet the coral’s nutritional and energetic demands. Some fundamental aspects of Symbiodiniaceae biology remain unknown, particularly, how Symbiodiniaceae interact with bacteria in their proximity. Dr. Cárdenas’s lab investigates the interactions between bacteria and Symbiodiniaceae and their potential role in coral adaptation to ocean warming.
  3. Antagonistic interactions mediated by vibrios and other aquatic pathogens: Emerging marine diseases are becoming more prevalent and severe worldwide as environmental and anthropological pressures on marine habitats increase. These diseases are caused by changes in the composition and function of the microbiome rather than by classical disease models (i.e., microbiome dysbiosis). When compared to plant and human microbiomes, aquatic microbiome dysbiosis is in its infancy, and the origin and progression of these diseases are largely unknown. Dr. Cárdenas's lab studies antagonist host-bacterial interactions that may mediate disease progression in coral and other marine organisms, as well as the role of environmental parameters in disease onset.