Metagenomics has been a hot topic at JAMS in 2011. Playing to this popular theme, Thomas Jeffries of the University of Technology, Sydney opened the final meeting for the year with his metagenomic analysis of taxonomic and functional patterns in South Australia's hypersaline Coorong Lagoon. Thomas and colleagues found shifts in the abundance of cyanobacteria and Archaea linked to a salinity and nutrient gradient along the lagoon, as well as a shift in the abundance of genes related to salinity tolerance and photosynthesis. Surprisingly, despite the extreme range of environmental factors within Coorong, they found these patterns were dwarfed when the lagoon samples were placed in a global context, which showed substrate - in this case, solid or fluid - had a greater influence on taxonomic profiles. Thomas's work shows the importance of scale in the relationship between a microbial community and its environment.

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.

A keen crowd of about 35 braved the rain to attend the September JAMS, which this month was held within the more spacious setting of the 4th floor at the Australian Museum. This month’s presentations all had a marine flavour, with the audience enjoying three entertaining talks focussed on the community dynamics and biogeochemical capabilities of marine microorganisms.

A dinner at the Australian Museum
A weekend retreat in some beautiful location
Nothing, just a regular meeting
Nothing, I hate birthdays anyway
Total votes: 12

It's true, the first "pilot" meeting of JAMS was almost a year ago on november 24th 2010.Not long before (to me it feels like yesterday), Andy, Ian, Mike and myself met at the Trinity bar and started tossing around ideas on getting it all started. We still had no clue of when, where, or how we were going to do it. We just knew it had to be done and we'd all benefit from it.We have come a long way from there. We've had 29 speakers, some from overseas, many from out of town giving great seminars. We've had talks ranging from viruses to mosquitoes, from tropical oceans to alpine soils. But above all, we've had lots of fun!So to celebrate JAMS's first year of success I think we should have some sort of a birthday celebration.

I don't like pizza anyway
Total votes: 6

An enthusiastic crowd of around 50 gathered to see out the winter months on the last day of August at another great JAMS meeting at the Australian Museum. The JAMS series brings together research microbiologists, including post-docs, PhD students and senior researchers, working in non-clinical projects from institutes throughout the Sydney region. The JAMS organisers would like to thank the Australian Museum for providing the fantastic venue for the meetings, as well as the Australian Society for Microbiology for sponsoring the event to provide pizza and drinks.

JAMS celebrated July at the Australian Museum with a diverse series of talks and food and drinks, kindly supported by ASM.

Rita Rapa (UTS) started us off describing the integron/gene cassette system in the Vibrio genus. These gene cassettes add to the adaptive potential of Vibrio and are likely to be an important driver in the evolution of Vibrio in their respective niches. Through whole cell proteomic analysis, deletions in the gene cassette array exhibit altered surface associated structures. Her future work will focus on how these deletions impact Vibrio physiology.
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