Microorganisms and their community at large – also known as the microbiome – are essential to the health and ecosystem functions of organisms in natural environments.
In the Blue Carbon Lab, we have interdisciplinary expertise in microbial ecology, including community diversity, activity, and processes. These span across coastal soil/sediment and plant biogeochemistry and microbiology. Additionally, while using microbial ecology tools to understand blue carbon restoration and conservation is still in its early stages, we have the capacity to explore microbial dynamics and how these could potentially facilitate restoration of coastal ecosystems.
We have expertise in microbiome sample collection from both host organisms (e.g. seagrasses, tidal marshes, mangroves) and their habitat (e.g. soils, water). We have in-house capacity for bacterial, fungal, and microalgal DNA extractions, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), next-generation sequencing (NGS), bioinformatics, and data interpretation. We also have expertise in microorganism culturing and bioassays, as well as reviews and meta-analyses on coastal microbial ecology topics.
– Bioinformatics and statistical analysis
– Data interpretation
– Project design consultation
– DNA and RNA extractions
– Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
– Next-generation sequencing (NGS)
– Microorganism culturing and bioassays
– Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics
– Microbiome sample collection in host organisms (e.g. seagrasses, tidal marshes, mangroves)
– Microbiome sample collection in habitats (e.g. soils, water)
We led an international study in Nature Ecology and Evolution on the pressing research gaps in the field of coastal marine microbial ecology. The research needs to include fundamental exploration of the microbiomes and their functions, particularly in understudied ecosystems such as seagrass, mangrove and tidal marsh ecosystems; the connection between microbiome and host resilience, including disease; and identifying the roles microbiomes play in coastal ecosystem restoration and management. Ongoing research includes investigating the formation and structure for seagrass and mangrove microbiomes, and identifying microorganisms involved in seagrass disease.