Friday seminar: Microbial community assembly and functional diversity in the Anthropocene
By Alexander Eiler from the Section for Aquatic Biology and Toxicology, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo
Human activity has a significant impact on climate and ecosystems including most microbial life on Earth. Microbes regulate biogeochemical cycles and support the existence of all higher trophic life forms. To understand how humans and other life forms can withstand anthropogenic climate change, it is vital to learn not just how microorganisms affect climate change but also how they will be affected by climate change and other anthropogenic activities. In this talk I will present results from macroecological studies of microbes including all three domains of life from aquatic environments. Some first results indicate that communities among the three domains follow corresponding patterns across large scale spatial patterns. However, models predict that community assembly is driven to various degrees by deterministic mechanisms across the three domains with bacterial communities expressing the strongest deterministic signal. Another point I would like to make is that a high functional redundancy characteristic for most microbial communities complicates predictions on the behavior of microbial ecosystems in response to anthropogenic impacts. Here, advanced statistical methods and deep learning can capture complex responses in large ecological datasets, and thus facilitate the identification of thresholds and alternative trajectories in microbial response. Such benchmarking may provide future tools for mitigation efforts and management decisions to counteract environmental changes.
Dr. Alexander Eiler
The Section for Aquatic Biology and Toxicology, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo.
More information: CBA topic area: Microbial genomics and metabolism
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