Navigation Links
Network to study environmental microbes

They're tiny, everywhere and vital to the environment, but biologists have largely overlooked the worms, fungi and single-celled animals found in every environment on Earth. A new research coordination network based at the University of California, Davis and the University of New Hampshire aims to correct that, applying new genome sequencing technology to study these organisms.

The Research Coordination Network on eukaryotic biodiversity is funded by a five-year grant of $500,000 from the National Science Foundation.

"I call them the 'dark matter' of biology," said Holly Bik, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis and co-principal investigator on the project with Professor W. Kelley Thomas at the University of New Hampshire. "They are in every single environment, but no one looks at them."

The microscopic eukaryotes fall between two other groups that are much better studied: Animals, plants and fungi visible to the naked eye, and the prokaryotes (mostly bacteria). They include microscopic worms (nematodes), some fungi and single-celled animals (protozoa).

These organisms play a vital role in ecosystems, Bik said, for example by breaking down organic matter and turning over soil nutrients.

Traditionally, they have been studied based on their appearance under the microscope. Now, new high-throughput DNA sequencing technology makes it possible to identify and classify these organisms much more quickly and comprehensively.

Just as medical researchers have begun to realize that the community of microbes on and inside our bodies influences health, biologists have also begun to pay attention to how a flourishing community of microorganisms affects the environment, Bik said.

The goal of the network is to bring together researchers from different fields: taxonomists expert in identifying organisms; ecologists who study these ecosystems; genome scientists and computational biologists who can figure out how to analyze sequence data from these relatively complex animals.

The team aims to organize an annual "catalysis" meeting to bring researchers together, Bik said. They will also sponsor symposia at other scientific meetings.

Working with other colleges including historically black colleges and universities, the network will develop undergraduate training programs on taxonomy and genomics, based at UNH.

"If we want the field to move forward we need to train the next generation of scientists," Bik said.

The network will also establish a strong web and social media presence to share information, both between experts, with students and the public.


Contact: Andy Fell
University of California - Davis

Related biology news :

1. Unraveling biological networks
2. Study demonstrates cells can acquire new functions through transcriptional regulatory network
3. Building the European Unions Natura 2000 -- the largest ever network of protected areas
4. Activity in brain networks related to features of depression
5. Minneapolis Heart Institute selected to participate in Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network
6. A network of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe
7. Scientists tie DNA repair to key cell signaling network
8. Manipulation of a specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates
9. UC Berkeley chemists installing first carbon dioxide sensor network in Oakland
10. Penn researchers improve living tissues with 3-D printed vascular networks made from sugar
11. Service Credit Union Selects DigitalPersona to Secure Access to Network and Applications
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Network to study environmental microbes
(Date:4/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics ... during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics ... such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... BioCatch ™, the global ... the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as CEO. ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of significant ... of its platform at several of the world,s largest ... unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner of ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... , March 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, ... LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce ... used in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes ... originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be ... of the DNA. Bill Bollander , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche ... with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article ... Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: