Fierer Lab

Exploring the structure and function of microbial communities

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Insights, rants, shameless self promotion, etc. from the Fierer lab and its affiliates.

What’s in a number? Estimating microbial richness using DADA2

February 17th, 2020 Corinne Walsh & Noah Fierer Soils are often touted as harboring some of the most diverse microbial communities of any habitat on Earth. We typically expect to detect on the order of thousands of different bacterial taxa in a given soil sample using culture-independent sequencing methods. However, richness (number of distinct taxa

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Expectation is the root of all heartache: Plant species identity and the rhizosphere microbiome

January 30th, 2020 Noah Fierer and Corinne Walsh Like nearly every other organism (but not all 1), plants harbor thriving microbial populations. In particular, plant roots are surrounded by diverse microbial communities in the rhizosphere (qualitatively defined as soil found in close proximity to roots). We know that the presence of roots changes the amounts

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The Great Plate ‘Debate’ – why we care and what we know about gaps in culture collections

By: Noah Fierer April 11, 2019 It is a seemingly simple question: What percentage of bacterial and archaeal taxa in a given sample have been cultivated? Or, to phrase this another way: How well do our pre-existing culture collections cover the breadth of prokaryotic1 diversity found in environmental or host-associated samples? This topic may seem

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The ‘hidden’ costs of microbial community analyses

February 13th, 2019 By: Noah Fierer DNA sequencing is clearly a powerful tool for analyzing microbial communities. It is now somewhat routine to take a sample of feces, tap water, or bellybutton lint and use DNA sequencing-based approaches to analyze the microbes living therein. We also know that the cost of generating DNA sequence data

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