In collaboration with Karla Heidelberg's group at USC and Eric Allen's group at SIO/UCSD, we are in the process of reconstructing genomes from microbial eukaryotic, bacterial, archaeal, and viral populations collected across a variety of timescales (hours, days, months, and a few years) from hypersaline Lake Tyrrell in Victoria, Australia.
The relatively low diversity of organisms able to survive in Lake Tyrrell (at salt saturation, ~330 g/L NaCl) allows for complete or near-complete genome assembly from the dominant populations, which can be used to unravel population heterogeneity and to characterize changes in population and community structure over time. With deeply sequenced metagenomes from a variety of organism types, along with geochemical data, we should be able to determine the ecological significance of changes at the population and community levels on a variety of time scales.
We are also in the process of collecting community proteomic and metabolomic data, in order to characterize changes in physiology and gene expression in response to changing salinity, temperature, and exposure to sunlight. Although all members of the Lake Tyrrell project work together to achieve the project goals outlined here, students in the Banfield lab are particularly interested in viral population dynamics and virus-host interactions (Joanne Emerson) as well as in microbial circadian rhythms & emergent community wide physiological patterns coordinated by light and heat (Karen Andrade).
For more information, visit our Lake Tyrrell research page here