Storify/Tweet Notes from Noah Fierer’s talk at UC Davis

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Noah Fierer talk at #UCDavis on biogeography of soil microbes

Storified by Jonathan Eisen· Thu, Jan 10 2013 22:44:52

At #UCDavis tomorrow: Noah Fierer @NoahFierer on “Exploring Terra Incognita: the biogeography of soil microorganisms” Eisen
Reminder – today 4 PM #UCDavis Seminar by Noah Fierer #microbes #microbiomes #biogeography #evolution #soil Eisen
Awaiting talk at #UCDavis by @NoahFierer- starting in a few minutes “Exploring terra incognita – the biogeography of soil microorganisms”Jonathan Eisen
Introduction for @NoahFierer talk at #ucdavis refers to him as a self described expert on cooties .. this has to be goodJonathan Eisen
@phylogenomics @noahfierer Did you ever play the Cooties game? I did, now I’m an entomologist. Trapped.Jack C. Schultz
For more on work of @noahfierer (whose talk at #UCDavis I am live tweeting) see Eisen
Now tweeting from @NoahFierer ‘s #UCDavis seminar “Exploring terra incognita: the biogeography of soil microorganisms” No eukaryotes tho :(Holly Bik
Fierer at #UCDavis defends referring to plants and animals as “macrobes” as better than calling small things microbesJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: 4000-2000 kg microbial biomass per hectare (from Fierer et al. 2009 Ecology letters)Jonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: vast majority of soil microbial diversity undescribed, quotes Donald Rumsfeld as “patron saint of microbial ecology”Jonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: example of Acidobacteria – up to 30% of bacteria in soil from this phylum yet only 5 described generalJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: using microbes to test principles of biogeography/ecology; using biogeography to learn about poorly understood microbesJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: in 2006 $10K = 400 bacteria IDd in each of 5 samples; 2012 $10K = > 10K bacteria IDd in each of 500 samplesJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: reduction in sequencing cost / increase in capacity allows 1st time biogeography studies of microbes on large scaleJonathan Eisen
Fierer: You can’t do ecology with 5 samples (old methods) – now costs have dropped, we can sequence 100s of samples to look at ecologyHolly Bik
Fierer at #UCDavis: dealing with this: “There is no biogeography of anything smaller than 1 millimeter” Bland Finlay Science 2005 vol 310Jonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: collected soil samples from diverse biomes (tundra, desert, prairie, forest) & asked what calls “19th century” eco ??sJonathan Eisen
If the bacterial/archaeal people are doing 19th century ecology (as says @NoahFierer), then us eukaryote people are stuck in the dark ages..Holly Bik
Fierer at #UCDavis discussing Lauber et al. 2009 – ~1000 sequences per sample x 80 + samplesJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis discussing this figure from 2009 paper – where simple ordination did not distinguish samples wellJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis now discussing Figure B from saying that soil pH shows strong association w/ microbe Beta diversityJonathan Eisen
“@Dr_Bik: Fierer: You can’t do ecology with 5 samples costs have dropped, we can sequence 100s of samples 4 ecology” SORT OF. Whoo R U? $$$Jack C. Schultz
Fierer et al. refs from 2009 paper that shows good relationship between soil pH and alpha diversityJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: their soil data did not show any obvious relationship to latitude, mean annual temp, or other variables looked atJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: their data showing relationship between pH and microbial diversity could have been due to some feature related to pHJonathan Eisen
Fierer at #UCDavis: looked at soil microbes in one biome in arctic and still had correlation with pH and diversityJonathan Eisen
Fiere at #UCDavis: refs. where even in controlled system (Rothamsted Research) pH & microbial diversity correlatedJonathan Eisen
Does pH itself drive soil microbial assemblages, or aluminum toxicity (Al and pH closely linked)? We don’t know yet says @NoahFiererHolly Bik
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: discussing PNAS 2012 Soil paper – metagenomics of VERY different soil samplesJonathan Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: in soil metagenomic data only ~ 20% of reads could be annotated (i.e., function predicted)Jonathan Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: in soil metagenomic data there is a weak ++ correlation between 16S PD and functional diversityJonathan Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: desert soils VERY different from other soils in beta diversity of taxa & functionsJonathan Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: looked are which genes were driving the major differences beta. soils in deserts & other locationsJonathan Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer quotes Willa Cather “elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world but here the earth was the floor of the sky”Jonathan Eisen
. @NoahFierer heads to 19th century graveyards to sample native prairie grass habitats for soil microbes. One of least disturbed sites..Holly Bik
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer refs paper that modelled distributions of Sasquatch Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer discussing collaborative work w/ Josh Ladau from UCSF (who I collaborate w/ too)Jonathan Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer says “Microbial ecology needs more Ecologists” (emphasizes the capital EJonathan Eisen
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: Ecology needs more microbial ecologyJonathan Eisen
Pleas frm @NoahFierer: Microbial ecology needs more Ecologists–lots of data out there, not being fully used, & lots of reinvention of wheelHolly Bik
At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: ecological restoration projects need to consider microbes as part of the storyJonathan Eisen
@phylogenomics: @NoahFierer: ecological restoration projects need to consider microbes as part of the story” or quit stupid reconstructionJack C. Schultz
@phylogenomics: At #UCDavis @NoahFierer says “Microbial ecology needs more Ecologists” (emphasizes the capital E” ) Brilliant!Jack C. Schultz
@phylogenomics Lots of reasons reconstruction is purely subjective, starting with “which era do we reconstruct?”. Not “science”Jack C. Schultz
@phylogenomics For a different take (e.g., why is YOUR reconstruction THE reconstruction?) see C. Schultz
Both true! – MTs: “@phylogenomics: At #UCDavis @NoahFierer: Ecology needs more MICROBIAL ecology” &”Microbial ecology needs more Ecologists”Gavin Collins
@jackcschultz sure some restoration projects have issues but the “not science” accusation makes you sound sillyJonathan Eisen

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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