JAMS October 2011 meeting report by Ivan Wong

Many scientific minds gathered together for a series of talks on a warm October evening at the Australian Museum.

The first presenter, Martin Ostrowski from Macquarie University continued from last month’s marine microbiology theme by presenting the genetics and ecology of Synechococcus. He demonstrated the distribution patterns of Synechococcus lineages are similar in different ocean systems with comparable environmental conditions. However, specific Synechococcus lineages show a distinct distribution pattern at a global scale. This finding may be useful to predict bacterial community structures in marine ecosystems.

The next speaker, Catherine Burke from University of Technology Sydney presented her PhD work on bacterial community assemblies associated with the green algae, Ulva australis. Her research findings demonstrated low similarity in bacterial species composition on surface colonization across algal samples. Despite a high species variability between samples there was a high functional similarity between the samples.  These functions were widely distributed across different taxa suggests that the bacterial community structure may be performed at a functional genes level rather than the traditional species level.

We then had a small break as we dined and discussed over pizza and drinks. JAMS would like to thank the Australian Museum for the venue and Australian Society of Microbiology for providing pizza and drinks.

After the break, our final speaker, Mathieu Pernice from the University of Queensland talked about symbiosis of the coral-dinoflagellate interactions. He explained the strategies employed by coral in its uptake of nutrients and its intertwining endosymbiosis of dinoflagellates. He explained how the development of new technologies by combining isotope labeling and a high-resolution imaging system (nanoSIMS) has provided insights into how these organisms respond to environmental changes.

Finally, we hope to see you again at the next JAMS to be held on Wednesday 30th November from 6- 9 pm at the Australian Museum. Further details and registration with JAMS can be found our website.