Recent findings of genomic complexity in the form of mobile elements and evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer, as well as community complexity in the form of trophic associations with other bacteria, drives the team to gain a better understanding of these communities and their molecular underpinnings. The team plans to generate “single-cell” (meta-)genomes of individual cells or chains of large sulfur bacteria (LSB) and their adherent epibionts from coastal marine and freshwater sites, along with metagenomes and iTag sequencing from their environments. These datasets will support individual Co-I projects, as well as shared bioinformatic and statistical studies of global trends. LSB in diverse environments are critical regulators of the biogeochemical cycling of sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements. The metabolisms, ecologies, and morphologies of LSB are poorly understood and unique in the microbial world.
Proposer: Barbara MacGregor, University of North Carolina