Navigation Links
UNH, UC Davis launch network to study environmental microbes
Date:11/7/2013

DURHAM, N.H. A grant to the University of New Hampshire and the University of California, Davis, will help biologists identify an abundant yet largely unknown category of organisms, leading to better understanding of the vital environmental functions they play.

The National Science Foundation awarded the two universities $500,000 to develop a Research Coordination Network on eukaryotic biodiversity. The work will apply new genome sequencing technology to study and classify microscopic eukaryote species like nematodes, fungi, and single-celled animals.

These small yet complex organisms are invisible to the eye but abundant in marine and terrestrial environments from sandy beaches to garden plots. "If you're making a sandcastle, there are thousands and thousands of these creatures in a handful of sand. They provide key ecosystem services," says co-principal investigator W. Kelley Thomas, Hubbard Professor in Genomics and director of UNH's Hubbard Center for Genome Studies. They process waste, cycle nutrients, and even "eat" spilled oil, he says.

"I call them the 'dark matter' of biology," says Holly Bik, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis and co-principal investigator on the project. "They are in every single environment, but no one looks at them." Bik worked with Thomas as a postdoctoral researcher at UNH.

The traditional taxonomic approach to biodiversity involves looking at an organism and describing the features legs, wings, teeth, leaves that make it similar to or distinct from other organisms. Because taxonomy is far easier and more efficient to apply to cats and cows and pine trees than to microscopic organisms like nematodes, knowledge of the Earth's biodiversity shows a distinct bias toward larger species.

Now, new high-throughput DNA sequencing technology makes it possible to identify and classify these organisms much more quickly and comprehensively, describing each species with a short "barcode" of several hundred nucleotides.

The goal of this new 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, and they will also sponsor symposia at other scientific meetings. The program will bring scientists from around the world to UNH to collaborate toward better understand global patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem function. In addition, it will support an expanded relationship with two biodiversity experts (Eyualem Abebe at Elizabeth City State University and Jyotsna Sharma-Srinivasan at The University of Texas, San Antonio). These partners serve significant populations of undergraduates from underrepresented groups and expand the potential diversity of scientists that will ultimately address long standing questions in biodiversity.

The network will also develop undergraduate training programs on taxonomy and genomics, based at UNH. Activities like "bioinformatics bootcamps" will enhance students' research skills through interdisciplinary training.

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


'/>"/>

Contact: Beth Potier
beth.potier@unh.edu
603-862-1566
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UC Davis scientists find new role for P53 genetic mutation -- initiation of prostate cancer
2. UC Davis study finds that above-normal weight alone does not increase the short-term risk of death
3. UC Davis researchers develop new drug delivery system for bladder cancer using nanoparticles
4. UC Davis researchers aid effort to sequence the complex wheat genome
5. UC Davis study deflates notion that pear-shaped bodies more healthy than apples
6. UC Davis researchers discover molecular target for the bacterial infection brucellosis
7. UC Davis team spikes stem cells to generate myelin
8. UC Davis researchers discover a biological link between diabetes and heart disease
9. LABS, Inc. Launches Suite of Next-Generation Test Offerings; Focuses on Expanding Complex Biologic Testing Portfolio in 2012
10. Launch of PLoS Currents: Disasters
11. Flavor and the new Nordic cuisine: BioMed Centrals new scientific journal Flavor is launched
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UNH, UC Davis launch network to study environmental microbes
(Date:6/2/2016)... -- Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics ... Support & Other Service  The latest report ... analysis of the global Border Security market . ... $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: In November ... software and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... -- Elevay is currently known as the ... high net worth professionals seeking travel for work   ... there is still no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. ... deal with a firm handshake. This is why wealthy ... citizenship via investment programs like those offered by the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the leading software as a ... Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both audio and video telemedicine ... team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can schedule a face to ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. Hoffmann, ... faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School effective ... at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading classes ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading organism design company ... as one of the World Economic Forum,s Technology ... companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering biology to manufacture ... the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors. The ... Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for their ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a ... susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination ... The new test has already been incorporated into ... cancer types. Over 230 clinical trials ... pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: