Aloha from the middle of the Pacific Ocean! This week concluded Part I of the summer Microbial Ecology course I am taking at the world renowned Center for Microbial Ecology Research and Education (C-MORE) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It is hard to believe that I have been in Hawaii for 2 weeks! The course is taught by a group of local and visiting faculty directed by Dave Karl.
The first week was broadly focused on "The Ocean as a Habitat". The visiting faculty included Ginger Armbrust (Univ. of Washington), John Cullen (Dalhousie Univ.), Ken Johnson (MBARI) and Dan Repeta (WHOI). We had 3 to 4 lectures/discussions per day with topics including a general introduction and history of microbial ecology; nutrients, light and primary productivity; nutrient cycling; observations of biogeochemistry with robotics; modeling; functional and taxonomic diversity of phytoplankton; and carbon cycling. It was an incredibly dynamic and interesting week. Check out this review on signaling interactions between diatoms and bacteria: http://mmbr.asm.org/content/76/3/667.short
And also check out the awesome MBARI database of data from deployed floats across the ocean: http://www.mbari.org/chemsensor/floatviz.htm
The second week of the class was titled "From Genomes to Biomes" and was led by Ed DeLong (MIT). The lectures covered general marine microbial 'omics and the cutting edge methods and technology being used. The visiting faculty included Eric Allen (Scripps Institution, UCSD), Elizabeth Costello (Stanford Univ.), Scott Gifford (MIT) and Nikos Krypides (JGI, DOE). We also had lectures from local C-MORE faculty Mike Rappe, Grieg Stewart and Benedetto Barone. We were introduced to genomic software tools including IMG/ER, CAMERA, and Qiime.
What a full and exciting couple of weeks! Now we will temporarily leave C-MORE Hale (LEED Platinum certified) and head to the big blue! In Part II of the course we will conduct research on a research cruise to Station ALOHA (A Long-Term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment, 22deg 45'N, 158deg 00'W). We will be at sea for a total of 10 days. This will be my first open ocean cruise... I can't wait.
Sarah Q. Foster
Sarah is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Fulweiler Lab. This blog documents her experience taking a summer course "Microbial Oceanography: From genome to biome" at C-MORE at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.