Long-term ecological studies have expanded our view of microbial biology with the incorporation of long-term monitoring programs of diversity, plant and animal ecology, and decomposition processes in the context of global climate change. In the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in studies at LTER sites that have a focus in ecological genomics or metagenomics. Funding and organization for these programs has been largely ad hoc. Missing from the current picture are the resources and coordination efforts necessary for cross-site research, appropriate annotation, creation of metadata, and synthesis. The full integration of meaningful cross-site ecological-genomic studies into LTER research will require either substantial new infrastructure or access to existing infrastructure in terms of both sequencing technology and data handling. This workshop will provide an opportunity for LTER scientists to evaluate past research, learn about the current activities of colleagues who work at other sites, and explore problems and opportunities with respect to funding in microbial genomics.
The main objectives of this working group are:
1) Review microbial studies in ecological genomics including manipulation experiments along latitudinal gradients and across time scales. Special attention will be given to the potential for such studies to inform climate-change predictions. The symposium will consider contrasting ecosystems across the current 26 LTER sites.
2) Discuss the problems and opportunities inherent in coordinating and funding future cross-site collaborations in microbial ecological genomics, and we will discuss approaches to annotation and deposition molecular datasets and metadata.
3) Create a draft combination synthesis and position manuscript for publication. We expect this manuscript to become a guideline for sequence annotation and creation of metadata that will facilitate cross-site comparisons and database management in the near future