- Who: James M. Tiedge, Center for Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University
- What: Download the Flyer (pdf)
- Where: Building 15, Room 253
- When: 10:30 am to 12 pm, January 14, 2011
- Why: About the Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series
More Information: JAMES TIEDJE is University Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and of Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University, and is Director of the Center for Microbial Ecology, one of the original NSF-funded Science and Technology Centers. His group has made contributions to understanding denitrification, soil microbial community structure, and novel bacteria that live by halorespiration on chlorinated chemicals. Recently he has used genomics and metagenomics to better understand ecological functions, speciation, and niche adaptation. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Editor of Microbial and Molecular Biology Reviews. He has served on the Board on Life Sciences of the National Research Council, chaired EPA’s Science Advisory Panel, and serve on DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee. He was President of the American Society for Microbiology and of the International Society of Microbial Ecology, and chaired the Soil Biology Division of the International Soil Science Society. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, the American Academy of Microbiology, the Soil Science Society of America, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Because of its diversity, the soil is arguably the most challenging frontierin biology. Soil houses the most complex microbial communities because ofits ancient history; complex sets of interrelating gradients; and protective,isolating, and relatively resource-poor and stable physical structure. Thisresults in an incredibly diverse set of gene sequences, at least on the scaleat which soils are normally sampled. These genes and their host microbescatalyze vital functions ranging from biogeochemical cycles, to greenhousegas flux, to water quality, to plant and animal health. The new molecular andomic technologies provide scientists with the opportunity to understand andeventually better manage some of these communities, but today’s challengelies in analyzing the massive amount of currently short sequences. I will discussthree components that underpin the understanding of soil communities:their compilation of subcommunities, the species and pangenome perspective,and the initial efforts to link sequence and function. I will use examplesfrom agricultural, permafrost, tropical, rhizosphere, and native ecosystemsthat include both shotgun and gene-targeted (amplicon) sequencingof key (eco)functional genes, nifH and bphA, for nitrogenase and aromaticdegradation, respectively.