Corals are important components of reefs, providing food and habitat to thousands of tropical species. In the last few decades, disease outbreaks have led to significant reductions in coral populations worldwide, yet almost nothing is known about the viruses that infect corals. This project will collect new data on the types of viruses in corals and evaluate the effects of viral infection on reefs. Specifically, the investigators will address the hypothesis that viruses (most notably herpes-like viruses) infect and cause tumors or growth anomalies (GAs) on Pacific reef building corals. Using next generation genomic technology, investigators will use gene sequences to compare and contrast the viral types found in healthy corals to those contained within tumors. This novel approach will not only determine if these diseases are the result of viral infection and transformation, but will also generate new data on a group of unknown viruses and provide insight into viral evolution. The project is will also provide data that can better inform policy makers about how to control viral outbreaks including limiting the spread of infection and disease on coral. Additionally, previously identified coral viruses are distantly related to human herpesviruses, and this continued project will help further evaluate the function and mechanism of herpes viral infection, including how they infect tissues and cause tumor formation in animals. Finally, this project will begin the training of several young female scientists as part of their graduate education; providing them funds to conduct their research and allowing them to present their work at international and domestic conferences.