Fierer Lab

Exploring the structure and function of microbial communities

Intragenomic heterogeneity and its implications for ESVs

By Angela Oliverio and Noah Fierer October 9, 2017 In a recent blog post, we focused on the advantages and disadvantages of using exact sequence variants (ESVs) versus OTUs to cluster marker gene sequences for microbial community analyses. Just to recap – let’s say we sequenced a pool of 16S rRNA genes from a bacterial

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Ecosystem restoration: what do soil and feces have in common?

By: Noah Fierer July 22, 2016 Some of you may have seen this paper that came out recently in Nature Plants by Wubs et al. “Soil inoculation steers restoration of terrestrial ecosystems”. As a soil ecologist – this paper brings joy to my heart. It was great to read this paper as it demonstrates the

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Field reflections from NZ: microbial eukaryotic life in hot springs

By Angela Oliverio July 6, 2016 I’m in my fourth week here in the Taupo Volcanic Zone of New Zealand on my quest to understand what eukaryotic life –especially protists– can thrive in hotsprings. A quick refresher: protists are single-celled microbial eukaryotes and include many diverse lineages like amoebae, ciliates and flagellates. While bacteria and

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Why graduate students are like NFL quarterbacks

By: Noah Fierer January 29, 2016 As the NFL season draws to a close, we can look back and try to figure out why some teams were winners (Go Broncos!) while others are perennial losers (sorry Cleveland). Undoubtedly one key to success is the ability of coaches and managers to select good players. Fortunately, for

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“Everything is everywhere…” gets us nowhere

By: Noah Fierer Microbial ecology has surprisingly few unifying concepts. It is difficult to identify ‘rules’ or paradigms that apply across the field of microbial ecology regardless of the taxonomic group or environment in question. Here is my short list and I realize I am probably missing quite a few obvious ones: Bacterial cell size

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A plea for help – hot topics in soil ecology?

By: Noah Fierer In early June, I’ll be attending the biennial meeting of the Soil Ecology Society in Colorado Springs. Despite being the home of Focus on the Family and one of the more conservative cities in the U.S. (the yin to Boulder’s yang) – it is a scenic place. More importantly the Soil Ecology Society

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Proposals and the preservation of sanity

By: Noah Fierer I write a lot of proposals – or at least it feels like I write a lot of proposals. As soon as one proposal is out the door, there is another one to write – a neverending cycle of panhandling. This is true for most scientists – we spend huge amounts of

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Pet Peeves

By: Noah Fierer Papers using 16S rRNA gene sequencing to characterize bacterial communities are now a dime a dozen. Every day a new ‘microbiome’ is described using these methods and microbiologists like to view themselves as Indiana Jones hacking through the jungle of microbial diversity wielding sequencers for machetes. Many of these papers are quite

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