Microbial life and the death of glaciers
|14 February 2018
|13:00 - 14:00
|What is it:
|Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
|Who is it for:
|University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public
Hear Arwyn Edwards of the University of Aberystwyth discussing microbial life and the death of glaciers.
Glacial ice covers 11% of the Earth's surface and is a critical zone in terms of climate and hydrology. We now recognise that glaciers and ice sheets represent active and diverse microbial habitats, and that microbial processes influence the melting of glacial ice surfaces. Understanding microbial interactions with glaciers is therefore an urgent avenue of investigation. However, despite this imperative, the microbial diversity of glacial systems remains poorly characterised. From approximately 200,000 glaciers presently known on Earth, we have fewer than ten publicly available microbial genomes at the time of writing. This limits our perspective of the genomic diversity of glaciers past, present and future.
Here, Arwyn will introduce work aimed at redressing this lacuna, building from insights from conventional, lab-based DNA sequencing investigations of glacier microbial diversity to the portability and long-read sequencing capability of the Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION. By linking sequencing efforts in the lab and in the field, our coverage of genomic diversity on glaciers can be improved. By iterating between improving genome data from remote environments and field-sequencing informed experimental strategies, the prospect of gleaning insights to glacial genomic diversity before it is deleted by climate warming this century becomes realistic.
This seminar is open to all, with tea and coffee served from 12.30pm in the lobby on the first floor of the Williamson Building.
Organisation: The University of Aberystwyth
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