By Noah Fierer, Tess Brewer, & Mallory Choudoir May 2, 2017 Typically, when we analyze 16S rRNA gene data for bacterial and archaeal community analyses we start by clustering sequences into operational taxonomic units (OTUs), i.e. clustering sequences that fall into fixed similarity thresholds (with OTUs often, but not always, defined at the ≥97% sequence
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
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
By Jon Leff June 14, 2016 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.
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
By: Noah Fierer October 29, 2015 Recently there was a call from a group of esteemed microbiologists and microbial ecologists for a ‘Unified Microbiome Intiative’. I won’t go into the details as you can read the articles here and here. I agree with most of what the authors are proposing. However, there are a few
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!
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
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
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