Education

Reference: JOB391
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Employer: Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western
Application deadline: CLOSED
Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 15:15 - 15:45
Institution: 
CSIRO Tasmania
Title: 

Towards a biological Argo float.

Abstract: 

Humans have long known about the physical attributes of the ocean – waves, tides, currents and temperatures. Since the 1800’s, deliberate measurements of depth, temperature and velocity have helped to build a low- resolution picture of the dynamic ocean. Argo is an international, collaborative program started in 2000 in which 3000 depth-profiling floats are deployed worldwide. These floats surface routinely and transmit salinity, temperature and depth data via satellite to data handling stations from where it is available to the global research community within 24 hours. Argo data have revolutionised physical oceanography and climate science.

Marine microbial ecology, in particular, how microbial community composition interacts with biogeochemical function in the ocean, is at the low-resolution phase of its history. With deep sequencing, we have the ability to take individual high-resolution samples but we do not yet have the global coverage required to make the connections between the bio and the geochemical.

We have a long-term goal of developing the microbiological equivalent of the Argo float. This requires a lot of hardware and “software” development. Hardware that can automatically sample, filter and process seawater and “software”, the genomic-based assays of microbial community structure that can be automated and miniaturised to work within the hardware. I will describe the development and rationale behind some of our array-based assays that might satisfy these criteria.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 14:30 - 21:00

You are invited to our inaugural anniversary half-day meeting at the Australian Museum, set for February 29th. Please sign-up to this event if you wish to attend or email us if need be.

Registration costs have been reduced to $35 for students and $75 for everyone else, thanks to the generous sponsorships of POCD Scientific, BD, The School of Molecular Bioscience (U. Sydney), The School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences (UNSW), The School of Medicine (UWS), The Biomolecular Frontiers Research Centre (Macquarie U.), The Environmental Microbiology Initiative (UNSW), The C3 and I3 Institutes (UTS).

There is an expanded schedule with some great speakers from out of town and a poster session for PhD students. As an incentive for students to present their work, the best poster will be awarded with the inaugural EMI Best Poster Award.

If you intend to present your work, please provide a poster title during registration.

The schedule of the meeting is as follows:

2.30 - 3.00pm Poster setup.
3.00 - 3.15pm Welcomes, introductions and acknowledgements.

Reference: JOB255
Location: Long Beach, CA, United States
Application deadline: CLOSED
Event Date: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 19:15 - 20:00
Institution: 
UNSW
Title: 

Rocking the cradle of life: Functional complexity of modern stromatolites.

Abstract: 
One of the major challenges in science is to identify modern living systems that present unique opportunities to address fundamental questions in diverse fields ranging from microbiology, geology, evolution, chemical biology, functional genomics, and biotechnology. The living stromatolites of Shark Bay on the western coast of Australia represent such a system. The overarching aim of our research program is to comprehensively characterise the functional complexity of modern stromatolites, in particular the diversity, biogeochemistry, and key interactions of the microorganisms forming the Shark Bay stromatolites. Understanding modern stromatolite systems is of fundamental significance to shed light on the evolution of early microbial life and the impacts of these ecosystems on both past and present global nutrient cycling.

Shark Bay is notable for its living marine stromatolites, and is listed as a World Heritage Site. In addition to their established evolutionary significance, these stromatolites, located in a hypersaline environment, are an ideal biological system for studying survival strategies of microorganisms to a range of stresses and their metabolic cooperation with other microorganisms. To further our understanding of these geobiological structures, detailed analyses of associated microbial communities and their functional characteristics are crucial.

This presentation will summarise the platform of our work over the last several years, focusing on recent discoveries and how these have led to new research directions employing a range of cutting edge technologies. This includes a comprehensive study elucidating major microbial populations, novel organism characterisation, signature lipid profiles, adaptive mechanisms of novel stromatolite isolates, creating a detailed biogeochemical profile of living stromatolites, whole genome analyses, and mechanisms of communication in these systems.

Finally, from an educational perspective, an interactive virtual field trip is being developed that will be an invaluable tool for both future research and conservation. Through the application of a rational and integrated approach, this research has provided valuable insights into these evolutionally significant biological systems. We now know who the key microbial players are, and can use this knowledge to examine specific functional characteristics to take the research to the next level, utilising the new suite of techniques now revolutionising the field of environmental microbiology.

  1. Allen MA, et al. (2010) Lipid biomarkers in Hamelin Pool microbial mats and stromatolites. Org Geochem 41, 1207-1218.
  2. Leuko S, et al. (2011) Molecular assessment of UVC radiation-induced DNA damage repair in the stromatolitic halophilic archaeon, Halococcus hamelinensis. J Photochem Photobiol B: Biology 102, 140–145.
  3. Goh F, et al. (2011) Osmoadaptive strategies of the archaeon Halococcus hamelinensis isolated from a hypersaline stromatolite environment. Astrobiology 11, 529-536.
Event Date: 
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
UNSW
Title: 

The first chlorophyll to be discovered in 60 years: chlorophyll F.

Abstract: 

This remarkable compound, found in stromatolite-inhabiting cyanobacteria from Shark Bay, Western Australia, can absorb light further in the red region of the electromagnetic spectrum than any of the other known chlorophylls.
This work was a truly collaborative effort between Sydney-based (University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and Macquarie University) and international researchers (University of Munich).

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