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Bik, H. M., Hubbard Center for Genome Studies, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA, holly.bik@gmail.com
Halanych, K. M., Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA,
Sharma, J. ., University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA,
Thomas, W. K., Hubbard Center for Genome Studies, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA,

RAPID BIODIVERSITY ASSESSMENT OF MICROBIAL EUKARYOTES USING HIGH-THROUGHPUT SEQUENCING: A CASE STUDY FROM THE BP OIL SPILL

Marine sediments harbor vast numbers of microbial eukaryotes (organisms <1mm, such as nematodes, fungi, protists, etc.). Yet, there exists a well-recognized gap in the taxonomic understanding of their biodiversity. In the Gulf of Mexico, our sparse knowledge of these organisms has precluded any informed mitigation and remediation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Using high-throughput sequencing methods, we are currently investigating the effects of this environmental disaster on marine sediment communities, focusing on three key questions: 1) How structured are the microbial eukaryote communities within the Gulf of Mexico? 2) How unique are these communities? and 3) What has been the effect of anthropogenic disturbance? To address these questions, we have applied both metagenetic (454/Illumina) and traditional taxonomic methods (morphology) to assay eukaryotic diversity in critical samples collected prior to the spill and selected from diverse habitats in the GOM. The comparison of baseline and post-spill sediment communities has provided the first insight into the environmental impacts of the BP spill on ecologically important (yet historically neglected) microscopic eukaryote taxa.

Poster presentation

Session #:174
Date: 2/22/2012
Time: 17:00 - 18:00
Location: Poster/Exhibit Hall

Presentation is given by student: No

PosterID: A0534