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Peter Schupp

Associate Professor of Marine Biology

MSc University of Konstanz
MSc University of Guam
PhD University of Würzburg

Research Interests

My research interests are chemical and microbial ecology, marine biodiversity and ecotoxicology of marine invertebrates and algae.

Biodiversity and Chemical Ecology: Research investigating marine biodiversity aims to understand the ecological function of secondary metabolites from marine invertebrates and algae. To gain better understanding of the ecological roles of secondary metabolites we are assessing their possible allelopathic, signaling and defense functions in selected marine invertebrates and algae. One goal is to combine the chemical ecology research with management-oriented studies to develop new management techniques and strategies to help preserve or improve Guam's and the region’s coral reefs. One focus is the identification of settlings cues for corals and other important reef-building organisms. Another project investigates the role of chemical signaling in the Crown of Thorn Starfish (COTS) Acanthaster planci. In particular we are interested in the role of possible feeding cues and if these could be exploited for Acanthaster management (attractants in traps).

Marine Natural Products Research: Besides our investigations on the ecological role of marine secondary metabolites we are also looking at their pharmacological potential as new drug candidates. Target organisms include sponges and ascidians from deep water environments ranging from 100 to 400 feet. We are extracting the organisms and screen the extracts in collaboration with groups in Hawaii, the mainland US and Germany for possible anticancer and antiinfectant properties. Active extracts are followed up with state of the art isolation techniques to identify the active compounds. Structure elucidation is again done in collaboration with groups in Hawaii, Japan, and Germany.

Ecotoxicology: Projects investigate the effect of pesticides, herbicides, antifouling paints and other anthropogenic chemicals on fitness and survival of coral larvae. We are also assessing the potential of different marine invertebrates as biomonitoring organisms for tropical regions.

Microbial Ecology: Research in microbial ecology focuses on associations between microorganisms and invertebrates and how these associations are regulated and maintained (we use sponges as model organisms). Molecular techniques such as Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) are used to characterize the bacterial communities involved in the complex interactions between the invertebrates and microorganisms and to monitor how stable these associations are. We are also using a more traditional approach to evaluate the associated microbial diversity by culturing the bacteria from the different marine invertebrates. Isolates are subsequently analyzed for their secondary metabolites' profiles to see what they contribute to the invertebrate chemistry. In addition all crude extracts and isolated compounds are screened for potential interesting pharmaceutical properties (this involves collaborations with researchers in Germany and the USA).

Recent Publications

Sharp, K.H., Ritchie, K.B., Schupp, P.J., Ritson-Williams, R., Paul, V.J. 2010. Bacterial Acquisition in Juveniles of Several Broadcast Spawning Coral Species. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10898.

Schupp, P.J., Kohlert-Schupp, C., Whitfield, S., Engemann, A., Rohde, S., Hemscheidt, T., Pezzuto, J.M., Kondratyuk, T.P., Park, E.J., Marler, L., Rostama, B., Wright AD. 2009. Chemoprotective and anticancer screening of extracts from marine macro- and micro-organisms sampled from waters around Guam. Natural Product Communications, 4, 12: 1717 - 1728.

Kitamura, M., Schupp, P.J., Nakano, Y., Uemura, D. 2009. Luminaolide, a Novel Metamorphosis-inducing Macrodiolide for Scleractinian Coral Larvae from the Crustose Coralline Algae, Tetrahedron Letters, 50, 47: 6606-6609.

Brunner, E., Ehrlich, H., Schupp, P.J., Hedrich, R., Hunoldt, S., Kammer, M., Machill, S., Paasch, S., Bazhenov, V.V., Kurek, D.V., Arnold, T., Brockmann, S., Ruhnow, M., Born. 2009. Chitin-based scaffolds are an integral part of the skeleton of the marine demosponge Ianthella basta. Journal of Structural Biology, 168: 539–547.

Manzo, E., Ciavatta, M.L., Melck, D., Schupp, P.J., de Voogd, N., Gavagnin, M. 2009. Aromatic Cyclic Peroxides and Related Keto-compounds from the Plakortis sp. Component of a Sponge Consortium. Journal of Natural Products, 72:1547-1551.

Schupp, P.J., Kohlert-Schupp, C., Yoshida, W.Y., Hemscheidt, T.K. 2009. Structure of Pseudocerosine, an Indolic Azafulvene Alkaloid from the Flatworm Pseudoceros indicus. Organic Letters 11, 5: 1111-1114.

Thoms, C., Hentschel, U., Schmitt, S., Schupp, P.J. 2008. Rapid tissue reduction and recovery in the sponge Aplysinella rhax. Marine Biology, 156:141–153.

Greve, H., Schupp, P.J., Eguereva, E., Kehraus, S., Kelter, G., Fiebig, H., König, G.M. 2008..Apralactone A and a New Stereochemical Class of Curvularins from the Marine-Derived Fungus Curvularia sp. European Journal of Organic Chemistry, online 14:39:45.

Greve, H., Schupp, P.J., Eguereva, E., Kehraus, S., König, G.M. 2008. Ten-Membered Lactones from the Marine-Derived Fungus Curvularia sp. Journal of Natural Products, 71: 1651-1653.

Matz, C., Webb, J.S., Schupp, P.J., Phang, S.Y., Penesyan, A., Egan, S., Kjelleberg, S. 2008. Biofilms evade eukaryotic predation by targeted chemical defense. Public Library of Science, 3,7: e2744.

Thoms, C., Schupp, P.J. 2008. Activated chemical defenses in marine sponges: a case study on Aplysinella rhax. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 34:1242-1252.

Matthew, S., Schupp, P.J., Luesch, H. 2008. Apratoxin E, a novel cytotoxic peptolide from a Guamanian collection of the marine cyanobacterium Lyngbya bouillonii. Journal of Natural Products, 71:1113-1116.

Thoms, C. and Schupp, P.J. 2007. Chemical defense strategies in sponges: a review. In: Custódio MR, Lôbo-Hajdu G, Hajdu E, Muricy G (eds). Porifera research: biodiversity, innovation and sustainability. Série Livros 28. Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro. 627-637.

Ortlepp, S., Sjögren, M., Dahlström, M., Weber, H., Ebel, R., Edrada, R., Thoms, C., Schupp, P.J., Bohlin, L., Proksch, P. 2007. Antifouling Activity of Bromotyrosine Derived Sponge Metabolites and Synthetic Analogues. Marine Biotechnology, 9: 776–785.

Manzo, E., Gavagnin, M., Somerville, M.J., Mao, S. Ciavatta, L., Mollo, E., Schupp, P.J., Garson, M., Guo, Y., Cimino, G. 2007. Chemistry of glossodoris nudibranchs: specific occurrence of 12-keto scalaranes. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 33: 2325-2336.

Van Alstyne, K., Slattery, M., Schupp, P.J. 2006. DMSP in Tropical Coral Reef Invertebrates from Guam. Coral Reefs, 25: 321-327.

López-Legentil, S., Turon, X., Schupp, P.J. 2006. Multiple defenses against predation in Cystodytes (Ascidiacea). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 332: 27– 36.

Schupp, P.J., Charlton, T.S., Taylor, M.W., Kjelleberg, S., Steinberg, P.D. 2005. Enhanced detection of acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) in environmental samples using a solid phase extraction protocol. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 383(1):132-137.

Thoms, C and Schupp, P. 2005. Biotechnological potential of marine sponges and their associated bacteria as producers of new pharmaceuticals (Part II). Journal of International Biotechnology Law, 2(5), 257-264.

Thoms, C and Schupp, P. 2005. Biotechnological potential of marine sponges and their associated bacteria as producers of new pharmaceuticals (Part I). Journal of International Biotechnology Law, 2(5), 217-220.

Taylor, M.W., Schupp, P.J., De Nys, R., Kjelleberg, S., Steinberg P.D. 2005. Biogeography of bacteria associated with the marine sponge Cymbastela concentrica. Environmental Microbiology, 7(3), 419-433.

Taylor, M.W., Schupp, P.J., Dahllöf, I., Kjelleberg, S., Steinberg, P.D. 2004. Host specificity in marine sponge-associated bacteria, and potential implications for marine microbial diversity. Environmental Microbiology, 6, 2, 121-130.

Taylor, M.W., Schupp, P.J., Baillie H.J., Charlton, T., de Nys R., Kjelleberg, S., Steinberg P.D. 2004. Evidence for acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) signal production in bacteria associated with marine sponges. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 70, 7, 4387-4389.

Proksch, P.; Ebel, R.; Edrada, R.A.; Schupp, P.; Lin, W.H.; Sudarsono; Wray, V.; Steube, K. 2003. Detection of pharmacologically active natural products using ecology. Selected examples from indopacific marine invertebrates and sponge-derived fungi. Pure and Applied Chemistry, 75 (2-3), 343-352.

Steube, K.G., Meyer, C., Schupp, P., Proksch P. and Drexler, H.G. 2003. Differential Effects of Staurosporine and its Analogues on Chemokine Release by Promyelocytic Leukemia Cell Line NB-4. Leukemia Research, 27, 957-963.

Schupp, P.; Poehner, T.; Edrada, R.; Ebel, R.; Berg, A.; Wray, V.; Proksch, P. 2003. Eudistomins W and X, two new beta-carbolines from the micronesian tunicate Eudistoma sp. Journal of Natural Products 66 (2), 272-275.

Newman, L.J. and Schupp, P. 2002. A new species of pseudocerotid flatworm from (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida) from the Indo-Pacific. Micronesica, 34(2), 177-184.

Edrada, RA., Ebel, R., Supriyono, A., Wray, V., Schupp, P., Steube, K., van Soest, R. and Proksch, P. 2002. Swinhoeiamide A, a new highly active calyculin derivative from the marine sponge Theonella swinhoei. Journal of Natural Products 65, 1168-1172.

Schupp, P., Proksch, P. and Wray, V. 2002. Further new staurosporine derivatives from the ascidian Eudistoma toealensis and its predatory flatworm Pseudoceros sp. Journal of Natural Products 65, 295-298.

Schupp, P., Eder, C., Paul, V. and Proksch, P. 1999. Distribution of secondary metabolites in the sponge Oceanapia sp. and ecological implications. Marine Biology 135, 573-580.

Schupp, P.J. and Paul, V.J. 1994. Calcium carbonate and secondary metabolites in tropical seaweeds: variable effects on herbivorous fishes. Ecology 75, 1172-1185.


Dr. Peter J. Schupp
Associate Professor of Marine Biology
Marine Laboratory
University of Guam
Mangilao GU 96923 USA
Marine Lab., Room 107
Tel: 1 671 735 2186
Fax: 1 671 734 6767

Copyright © 2005 University of Guam Marine Laboratory. All rights reserved.

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