Bridging the Gap

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 16:15 - 16:45
California Institute of Technology

Bridging the gap between ‘omics generated hypotheses and metabolic function of microorganisms in the environment.


Rapid advancements in environmental ‘omics approaches (e.g. metagenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics) have provided a fresh perspective on the metabolic potential of uncultured microorganisms in nature.  However, our ability to directly test hypotheses regarding the ecophysiology of microorganisms in their natural environment remains a challenge.  New applications of whole cell fluorescence microscopy, stable isotope tracers and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (FISH-nanoSIMS), provide direct cell-specific isotopic, elemental and phylogenetic information on the metabolic roles of environmental microorganisms and microbial associations.   This presentation will introduce the FISH-nanoSIMS method and highlight its utility for the field of microbial ecology through a case study of uncultured methane-consuming archaeal-bacterial symbioses in deep-sea sediments.

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