Although the molecular revolution has provided a valuable window into microbial diversity and function it is often difficult to leverage sequence data to describe and predict microbial processes. The integrated, interdisciplinary nature of the LTER network makes it an ideal platform for developing new tools and techniques to integrate sequence and non-sequence ecological data, and to use sequence data to develop and test specific hypotheses. Participants in this working group are invited to present ongoing work that uses sequence and non-sequence methods to explore microbial diversity and function within LTER sites. In particular participants are encouraged to share both challenges and solutions, and to explore how sequence-based approaches can be used to develop a more complete understanding of microbial ecosystem function. The goals of this working group are:
Session I - Where are we going?
1. Develop a clear understanding of what community structure/microbial process work is being done within the LTER framework.
- Linda Amaral-Zettler will give a 15 minute presentation on MIRADA-LTERS by Skype.
- Lydia Zeglin will give a 15 min. presentation highlighting factors contributing to the success of microbial LTER studies and her experience in the NEON Microbial Technical Group.
- Breakout by LTER to summarize the ongoing microbial ecology work at each site.
- Share summaries with larger group. We will also compile the summaries for distribution after the session. If you would like to prepare 1-2 slides beforehand (or during the breakout, only one presenter for each LTER) please feel free to do so.
2. To share ideas and develop collaborations between researchers in the LTER network investigating microbial processes.
- Breakout into small groups (random LTER composition) to develop guiding questions for Session II
- Reconvene for discussion/aggregation of guiding questions for Session II
Session II - How do we get there?
1. Identify scientific best practices for integrating microbial ecology with other data types and conceptual models.
2. Identify existing resources relevant to this working group.
3. Identify needs for additional (material, knowledge-based, financial) resources.
4. Identify existing barriers to microbial ecology (e.g. synthesis, experiments, data sharing).
5. Develop recommendations for future work.
6. What are the major questions for microbial ecology in the context of long term ecological research?