Fierer Lab

Exploring the structure and function of microbial communities

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

By: Noah Fierer 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 likely importance of

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Field reflections from NZ: microbial eukaryotic life in hot springs

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 archaeal taxa have long been appreciated

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Microbial community data in R: Introducing mctoolsr

The problem There – I did it. I made it through processing my raw amplicon (marker gene, 16S rRNA, 18S rRNA, or fungal ITS, etc.) DNA sequences. Now I have a table that tells me how many of each taxon (i.e. phylotype, OTU, etc.) are represented in each sample. This table is often referred to

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Why graduate students are like NFL quarterbacks

By: Noah Fierer 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 every prospective player

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Welcomes and a Farewell

  The most up-to-date lab group photo!  Farewell to our former student/lab tech extraordinaire, Xavier.  Welcome to our new grad students, Angela and Hannah!

“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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Expected Errors

#A poem for any biologist who has ventured into the world of scripting. By: Anne A. Madden >>>file = open(“Expected_Errors.txt”, ‘r’) >>>print May I be so BOLD as to take a minute and discuss my current plight? In my new job as a bioinformaticist, I can’t seem to get any code right.   Though I search for PERLs

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