Lake Mendota sits right next to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. And Trina McMahon’s lab has been sampling the microbes of that lake for over 20 years, to understand how the freshwater ecosystem works.
So a few years ago, when they set out to analyze 500 metagenomes, it was the biggest project the JGI had ever put together.
The next 3 episodes are the story behind that giant assembly from Lake Mendota. In this episode: the software evolution that made metagenome assemblies like this possible. [Read More]
To set up flexible, repeatable experiments on plants and microbes, Trent Northen’s group at Berkeley Lab created a fabricated ecosystem – an EcoFAB. These small plastic growth chambers let researchers around the world compare their work consistently. And EcoFABs also work well in the classroom. This episode, we visit Los Medanos College to see EcoFabs in action in Jill Bouchard’s BIO 21 lab course. [Read More]
To understand how organisms adapt to extreme environments, Marike Palmer and Brian Hedlund study organisms living in hot springs. Hear how their recent work revealed more about the history of the Chloroflexota phylum and a new way of moving: a tail-like flagella. [Read More]
A quick snippet on Antonio Camargo and Simon Roux, a few of the JGI researchers behind software that finds plasmids and viruses within microbial genomes. As mobile genetic elements like viruses spread their DNA, they can affect how microbes cycle nutrients and adapt to climate change. [Read More]
Meet researchers who have hiked, rafted and met local wildlife (a marmot!) as they’ve sampled the microbial communities living in the mountaintop lakes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. These lakes are isolated, but varied. They’re a great way to see how climate change affects freshwater ecosystems, and how those ecosystems work. [Read More]
Right now, our natural rubber comes from just one tree species: Hevea brasiliensis. It’s great at producing latex that becomes rubber, but it’s vulnerable to disease and climate shifts. So researchers are looking into a desert shrub that’s native to North America: guayule. [Read More]
The ocean depths are vast and dark. But there are hotspots on the ocean floor — underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents — where lively microbial communities thrive, and even support entire ecosystems. Hear from researchers Anna-Louise Reysenbach, Emily St. John, Gilberto Flores, and Peter Girguis about sampling these communities, and understanding how they’ve adapted to this extreme environment.
In our warming world, we’ll need corn, sorghum and other crops to grow well in worse conditions: with more heat, less water and less fertilizer. Grasses do better in these conditions, so plant biologists James Schnable, Guangchao Sun and Vladimir Torrres have looked into traits that could transfer from grasses into other crops. One grass they studied just happened to be the same species that covered World Cup pitches in 2022. [Read More]
Michelle O’Malley and Tom Lankiewicz of UC Santa Barbara discuss the importance of studying anaerobic fungi, as well as a recent discovery that turns scientific presumption on its head and opens up a new avenue to explore for efficient biofuel production.
David Hibbett (Clark University) fills us in on the kind of decay that makes shiitake mushrooms special. This week, he 39 collaborators published a paper tracing how these mushrooms have evolved. [Read More]