A SYSTEMS BIOLOGY APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING AN ECOLOGICALLY THREATENED RIVER ECOSYSTEM IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED
Toxic cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cHABs) have recognized and numerous deleterious effects on freshwater ecosystems. Conventional analysis of cHABs focuses on the toxin-producing organisms and largely disregards co-occurring microbes. In comparison, systems biology presents a more comprehensive understanding of cHAB communities. The Shenandoah River is the largest tributary of the Potomac River. Despite the documentation of cHABs for over thirty years in the Potomac River, the ecological status of its most important tributary has never been comprehensively studied. Ecological genomics, traditional molecular biology, and environmental chemistry were used to track patterns in the microbial community of the Shenandoah River from August to November of 2015. Samples were collected from two sites bi-weekly and duplicate metagenomes were constructed and analyzed for community structure, nutrient metabolism capabilities, and potential cyanotoxin production. In addition to metagenomic analysis, targeted genomics demonstrated the presence of potentially toxic cyanobacteria at both sites surveyed in the river. Trends in conductivity, temperature, depth, chlorophyll a, and nitrogen concentrations were determined through parallel water quality probing. These data provide initial insight into the microbial ecology of the Shenandoah River.
Gay, M. T., James Madison University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steffen, M. M., James Madison University, USA, email@example.com
Wright, T. L., James Madison University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Location: Poster/Exhibit Hall
Presentation is given by student: Yes