We are thrilled to welcome postdoctoral fellow Dr. Nicole Lynn-Bell to our group! Nicole's research background is in microbial-mediated symbioses. During her graduate work at UGA she focused on insect-bacteria-phage systems, and now she will apply and expand her knowledge of microbial symbioses through examining marine phytoplankton-bacterial interactions! Nicole was recently awarded a fellowship through one of NSF's new Science & Technology Centers - Center for Chemical Currencies of a Microbial Planet (C-CoMP). Nicole will be examining metabolic regulation in phytoplankton-bacterial interactions using model organism studies and observations along Florida's coastal regions. Welcome, Nicole!
Paper led by collaborator Angie Boysen has been published in Environmental Microbiology. Using a combination of stable isotopes, mass spectrometry, and metatranscriptomics, we traced metabolism of nitrogen-containing metabolite glycine betaine through a variety of pathways in North Pacific microbial communities. Rebecca Key and Bryn Durham were co-authors on this work, leading the metatranscriptomics analyses. A great collaborative project supported by the the Simons Foundation SCOPE-Gradients Program.
Schematic of formation and degradation pathways for glycine betaine, figure from Boysen et al., 2022.
Ashley Ohall presented her latest research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Ashley received a 2021 University Scholars Award to support her research over the last year, where she studied preferential use of nitrogen sources in coastal diatoms. She presented her culture work as well as some preliminary data from our recent cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Great job, Ashley!
Ashley and Bryn next to Ashley's research poster at the Symposium.
Paper led by collaborator Michael Carlson is now published in Nature Microbiology. Carlson measured viral abundances and active viral infection of cyanobacterial populations in the North Pacific over several years. Carlson identified a hotspot of cyanophage and virus-infected picocyanobacteria in the transition zone between the North Pacific Subtropical and Subpolar gyres, highlighting the impact of viruses on large-scale phytoplankton biogeography and biogeochemistry in distinct regions of the oceans. Another nice collaboration out of the SCOPE-Gradients Program!
Figure from Carlson et al., showing model-based predictions of cyanophage abundances corresponding to the empirically measured total.
We went on our first research cruise aboard the Florida Institute of Oceanography's R/V Hogarth. This was the first time to sea for seven of our science party of nine! Hoorah! We collected samples using the CTD rosette (pictured) as well as plankton nets. We returned to the lab will lots of samples to measure microbial diversity and metabolism that will keep us busy for the coming months! GoMicrobes!
Paper led by collaborator Ben Lambert was just published in PNAS. Lambert uses machine-learning techniques to predict trophic status in marine protist lineages using their transcriptional profiles. Lambert then examines metatranscriptome data from the field to predict changing trophic status in protist groups in the ocean, with mixotrophs implicated to play important functional roles along physicochemical gradients in the ocean. Check it out here.
Figure from Lambert et al., showing selection of features used in separating phototrophic, heterotrophic, and mixotrophic transcriptomes.
Welcome to Alina, who is a new undergraduate student in our lab! Alina is studying Biology at UF, and she plans to attend medical school and become a physician after graduation. Alina will use genetic tools to uncover metabolic pathways in marine bacteria and learn mass-spectrometry applications in the lab.
Welcome to Priyanka, who is a new undergraduate student in our lab! Priyanka is studying Chemistry and Environmental Science at UF. Her interests include applications of analytical chemistry towards environmental issues, and she plans to pursue a Ph.D. towards that end after graduation. Priyanka will use genetic tools to uncover metabolic pathways in marine bacteria and learn mass-spectrometry applications in the lab.
Using assemblies of polyA-selected eukaryotic metatranscriptomes, Ryan Groussman led an exploration of how 48 marine eukaryotic genera regulate their gene expression over the diel cycle in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Groussman finds that each taxonomic group has a relatively distinct transcriptional fingerprint. Yet, the diel cycle is a critical driver of the coordinated activities found across these various taxa. This study comes from the Simons Foundation SCOPE-Aloha Program. Check it out here.
Figure from Groussman et al., showing ordinations of transcript abundances by taxonomic groups (left) and by time with a particular group (right).
We are thrilled to welcome new graduate student Laurel Meke to our group! Laurel comes to us with much expertise in applications of untargeted and targeted LC-MS. She worked at SECIM (Southeastern Center for Integrated Metabolomics) prior to joining our lab, where she gained a great deal of experience with sample preparation, extractions, and general LC-MS troubleshooting. Now, she will apply and expand her chemistry knowledge to address research questions on marine microbes! Her research interests are to understand how the metabolism of red-tide Karenia brevis is influenced by environmental factors and interactions with other microbes. Welcome, Laurel!
As part of an early-career researcher series in mSystems, Durham was invited to write a commentary on marine microbial interactions. She outlines current research and future directions to examine microbial cooperation and metabolic exchange in the surface ocean. Check it out here!
Figure from mSystems commentary. Microbial metabolic networks in the surface ocean are examined through complementary field-based observations (top left), laboratory coculture systems (top right), and metabolic modeling approaches (bottom center). Figure illustration and design by Joana C. Carvalho.
We have a new lab member - Emily Kracht! Emily graduated from UF in Spring 2021 with degrees in Chemistry & Anthropology. During her undergraduate research at the Florida Museum, she used mass spec tools to analyze ceramics from Caribbean regions. We are thrilled for her to apply her MS knowledge and chemistry background to the world of marine metabolites! Welcome!
Two marine metabolomics manuscripts led by UW colleagues Angie Boysen and Katherine Heal were published in mSystems this month! Boysen et al., show diel oscillations in particulate metabolites consistent with day-night photosynthetic and redox cycles. Heal et al., show how changes in phytoplankton taxonomy shape particulate metabolites along a latitudinal gradient in the North Pacific.
Figure from Boysen et al., showing diel oscillations in metabolite abundance as well corresponding bacterial transcripts associated with their metabolism.
Ashley has received a 2021 University Scholars Award. Her research project is titled "Determining Preferential Conditions for Phytoplankton Photosynthetic Cycles" where she'll be looking into the relationship between nitrogen metabolism and photochemistry in marine phytoplankton. Congrats!
Graduating senior Mardeliz Martinez has been accepted to Florida State University's Biology graduate program. Starting in August, she’ll be working in their Ecology and Evolution Group with Dr. Scott Burgess on coral biology. Congrats!