As part of RCN EukHiTS, I’m leading two sessions at the Ecological Society of America 2014 Annual Meeting next month (taking place in Sacramento, August 10-15, 2014) – a Sunday workshop including QIIME and metagenomics tutorials, and a special session (most likely panel discussion) on Monday. I encourage anyone who is interested to register for these events:
Workshops #9884: “Environmental sequencing approaches and computational tools for ecologists”
Sunday, August 10, 2014
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Description: This workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary pool of researchers to discuss current approaches, challenges, and future directions for environmental sequencing studies (-omic studies of bacteria, archaea and microbial eukaryotes). The workshop program will introduce ecologists to common data types and scientific workflows currently employed for the analysis of high-throughput sequencing data (e.g. Illumina/454). Participants will be given overview presentations and hands-on demonstrations for a number of different approaches, including rRNA marker gene analysis, shotgun metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics. This workshop will introduce participants to computational biology tools and software pipelines which can be harnessed for DNA/RNA-based “ecometagenomic” studies. In addition, we aim to solicit feedback from workshop participants, fostering discussions on how to establish better links between traditional ecological research and new, high-throughput sequencing approaches.
Special Sessions #9883: “Ecometagenomics”
Monday, August 11, 2014
10:15 AM – 11:30 AM
Description: The goal of this session is to catalyze cross-disciplinary discussions between the ecology and environmental sequencing communities. High-throughput sequencing technologies now offer tremendous opportunities to make major inroads into our understanding of global biodiversity and biogeographic patterns. However, in order to make the most of emerging high-throughput sequencing approaches, we must move towards a “systems ecology” mindset, drawing expertise from diverse disciplines. For microbial eukaryotic taxa in particular, we can now conduct en mass biodiversity assessment using traditional loci (rRNA genes) at a fraction of the time and cost required for traditional (morphological) approaches. In addition, as databases of genes with functional descriptions expand, metagenomic approaches become useful for elucidating ecosystem function. Despite this promise, current bottlenecks and roadblocks lie in the development of useful distributed tools, links between molecules and morphology/ecology, and common data standards to allow global comparisons across individual studies. This session will begin with an overview of environmental sequencing approaches, introducing participants to the methods, data types and current advantages and limitations of DNA/RNA-based studies. The session is intended to be highly interactive, including brief talks, moderated discussion points, and solicitation of questions and feedback from audience members. This session would stimulate critical discussion related to the 2014 meeting theme of “Its all ecology.” DNA/RNA-based studies represent an emerging ecological discipline, and as such, it is imperative that the growing community of microbial ecologists begins to build strong links to the traditional ecological research that forms the center point of the ESA meetings.
Another ESA session linked to RCN EukHiTS is oral session OOS10: Ecological Genomics as an Emerging Field: Opportunities for Non-model Organisms (organized by Melis Akman, UC Davis)