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Brown tide culprit sequenced: Genome of the first of algal bloom species
Date:2/21/2011

is field. "For decades, scientists have been trying to understand why this species blooms, when it blooms, how it is able to dominate when there are so many other competing species in the water with it. With this new genomic data we have a new approach. We're getting answers based on the genes, though we still need other approaches that collect relevant oceanographic and chemical data to go along with the inferences drawn from the presence and absence of genes. It's a great advance - a great resource for our community. Even though there are major differences among HAB species, as we learn about Aureococcus with this approach, that knowledge will help us make similar advances with other HAB species."

Gobler said that one field of study that arose from the data involves these light-harvesting genes. "We know as a bloom occurs, the level of light in the estuary decreases gradually and becomes more turbid. Can we see the light-harvesting proteins expressed in Aureococcus turn on as a bloom occurs?" he asked. "Beyond gene expression, proteomics and looking at proteins synthesized during blooms are also other areas of future research to explore."

DOE JGI's Grigoriev also noted that the multidisciplinary approach of combining genome sequencing with other techniques allows researchers to explore a new area of ecogenomics, which is closely connected to the DOE mission in biogeochemistry. "Aligning the physico-chemical parameters of an ecosystem with the genomic potential of its inhabitants enables us to monitor changes in the environment. Harmful algal blooms are a recently reported phenomenon and could be connected to the growing human population along coastlines, which created conditions for Aureococcus to thrive, in turn adversely affecting estuaries. On the other hand, massive algal blooms can reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So by employing the ecogenomics approach we can start building balanced models of targeted environm
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Contact: David Gilbert
degilbert@lbl.gov
925-321-1107
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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