Sydney may have failed to deliver some sunshine on the last day of a slightly extended summer, but this didn’t dampen the spirits of Sydney’s microbiology community who turned out in numbers for the Inaugural JAMS Anniversary half-day meeting at the Australian Museum. This special meeting celebrated the first birthday of JAMS, an ASM special interest group that aims to bring together research microbiologists, post-docs and PhD students working in non-clinical research from all institutes.

Special thanks must go to the sponsors of the meeting: POCD scientific; Becton, Dickinson and Company; Macquarie University; The University of Sydney; The University of NSW; The University of Technology, Sydney, and; The University of Western Sydney. Another special thank you must also go to Federico Lauro (UNSW) and other members of the JAMS steering committee for organising the anniversary meeting and for their continued commitment to JAMS. The steering committee would also like to thank the Australian Museum who kindly provided the venue for our regular meetings and who hosted this special event.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 18:00 - 18:15
University of Technology Sydney

Metagenomic insights into microbial community control: From the global to the microscale.


The recent application of next-generation DNA sequencing tools has provided a wealth of new information about the diversity of microbial life, however the ecological factors which determine spatial patterns in prokaryotic gene abundance remain elusive. Using metagenomics and high-throughput sequencing of taxonomic marker genes, we have demonstrated shifts in microbial taxonomy and function along a salinity and nutrient gradient in the Coorong lagoon, South Australia. Functionally, genes showing the greatest response to physiochemical variability are related to salinity tolerance and photosynthesis. Taxonomically, Cyanobacteria and Archaea showed the greatest shifts in abundance along the gradient. Despite this variability however, the overall signature of metagenomic profiles remained remarkably conserved between sampling sites, and when compared to metagenomes from diverse habitats clustered with diverse sediment and soil habitats, regardless of salinity. This data indicates that the substrate type of the sample, fluid or porous, is a fundamental determinant of patterns in microbial community function globally, regardless of local chemical conditions. Whilst microbial community structure is determined on varying global and local scales, as demonstrated by the above data, the behaviour of microorganisms is determined on the microscale, with individual cells responding to gradients in specific nutrients in a patchy ecosystem. Using novel in situ sampling devices, and next-generation DNA sequencing techniques, our future work will focus on describing the microscale interactions between cells and nutrients in the ocean and how this relationship relates to ocean scale biogeochemical processes within the Carbon, Nitrogen and Sulfur cycles.

Reference: JOB221
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Employer: University of Western Sydney
Application deadline: CLOSED
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