Miscellaneous microbial ecology

When we said the lab is interested in any questions related to microbes, nutrients, or water, we weren’t lying. One of the fun parts of working at a small PUI is the opportunities to collaborate on projects far outside our normal comfort zones. An overarching goal of our research is understanding microbial ecology in any system, and the applicability of molecular tools to a wide variety of samples lets us investigate microbial dynamics in some new (for us) and exciting environments.

Some of this work is a more general study of microbial communities in aquatic environments, which ties in to much of the research in the lab but takes a broader lens (instead of, for instance, focusing specifically on N-cycling communities or archaea). For instance, we are currently investigating microbial communities in Green Lake (Fayetteville, NY) in collaboration with the McCormick Lab at Hamilton College, and in McNutt Creek (GA) in collaboration with the Ottesen Lab at the University of Georgia.

Even further afield, we are comparing fecal microbiomes of dog/owner pairs to determine the extent of microbial overlap, in collaboration with the Belanger Lab at Colgate University. We are also part of a collaborative project studying the fecal microbiomes of Ethiopian children with varying histories of helminth infection and/or treatment with deworming medicines. This project ties microbiome data to a great record of cohort-based epidemiology to determine what relationships exist between fecal microbiomes and long-term health outcomes, and is a collaboration with the Belanger Lab and the Taye Lab (both at Colgate University), and the Mekonnen Lab at Jimma University. The helminth project is funded by the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute ($149,000; 2020-2023). Finally, we are collaborating with the Wrighton Lab and the Wilkins Lab at Colorado State University and the Martini Lab at Amherst College to study microbial communities in subsurface shale deposits.

Students involved: Raux, LaFramboise.

Relevant manuscripts: Rasmussen et al. 2021.