Cliff Kapono, who received both his BS (MBB) and MS (MBBE) from CTAHR and who is now a PhD candidate at UC San Diego, has been in the news for the fascinating project he has created: the Surfer Biome Project. As he travels around the world to surf, he takes samples from surfers’ bodies and boards which are analyzed to see how intensive exposure to the ocean may alter human microbiomes—and how their bodies change the biome of the particular area of the ocean that they enter.
As an article in the New York Times explains, Cliff is looking for evidence that surfers are being exposed to genes for antibiotic resistance in the ocean; he hasn’t found these yet, but he has found evidence that surfers in the same area do have similar microbiomes associated with their bodies, and he’s noticed that his own microbiome changes depending on where he’s been surfing. Hawaii Business also has an article on this fascinating project.
Photo by Ariana Drehsler for the New York Times