Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Forming an Amazon Rainforest Microbial Observatory

16.07.2009
The Amazon rainforest may be the largest reservoir of soil microbes on Earth, yet researchers acknowledge that many of these organisms are almost unknown to science, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst microbiologist Klaus Nüsslein. What is clear, he adds, is that the area is under great threat from modern agricultural practices and now is the time to identify, collect and preserve microbe-rich soils before it’s too late.

To accomplish this, UMass Amherst’s Nüsslein, with colleagues from the universities of Texas, Oregon, Michigan State and the University of Sao Paolo recently launched a microbial observatory project to catalog microbial diversity and study effects of local agricultural practices in Brazil’s Rondonia region. The work is funded by an $800,000 four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition to serving as a repository for soils in which as many as 38,000 microbial species may be present in one cubic centimeter, the observatory will catalog the baseline bacterial diversity in three target habitats: pristine rainforest, burned-and-cleared grazing areas, and second-growth rainforest at different time stages, Nüsslein says.

After months of planning, Nüsslein and colleagues began the observatory with the first collecting trip to Rondonia at the end of the recent rainy season. They took a total 450 cores from the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil in a grid pattern at several locations in each of the three habitat types. Because soils were collected from second-growth forests known to have been cut in 1911, 1972, 1987 and 2001, the microbiologist adds, experiments will be able to assess the rainforest soils’ ability to recover from clearing and burning over time.

The Amazon region is greatly threatened by habitat loss from ranching, where old-growth rainforest is routinely cleared and replaced by a monoculture of African grass for cattle grazing, Nüsslein points out. An estimated 17 percent of the original habitat is already gone. And despite years of research on Amazonian plants and animals, the soil microbial ecosystem underfoot is among the least understood, the microbiologist adds. Thus, a conservatory where samples will be available to other investigators worldwide, plus focused experiments to answer soil ecology questions is needed.

Specifically, Nüsslein and colleagues plan to use three measures of genomic variability and biodiversity in two marker species, the so-called “universalist” Burkholderia and the slow growing Acidobacteria, which have different physiological strategies and thus represent different ecological niches. The researchers will use high-throughput genome sequencing to assess 400,000 ribosomal RNA marker genes at the same time, as well as gene chip arrays to evaluate the status and spatial patterns of known functional genes in these two bacteria genera from each of the three different habitats and across time.

Burkholderia is known as a “DNA hog,” according to Nüsslein, because like “the Borg” from Star Trek, upon meeting a new organic compound, it incorporates new DNA. It can thus live on numerous different food sources or acquire antibiotic resistance, for example. For the microbial observatory, it is useful as a marker of diversity because it retains a record of these encounters in its own DNA.

“We’ll assess the genomic variability of Burkholderia species as one measure of diversity, and follow the shift in Burkholderia diversity from native rainforest via the impact of deforestation to agricultural monoculture,” the microbiologist notes.

By contrast, Acidobacteria are “fastidious” eaters. By surveying their numbers in soil samples, the researchers can assess a different ecozone. Preliminary results are expected in the spring of 2010, when the team heads out to sample again.

One other factor adds to the depth of information to be collected for the microbial observatory: Chemists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution funded by the National Science Foundation have for many years studied greenhouse gases in this same Rondonia region in Amazonia. “This will make multiple layers of climate and other ecological data, along with our microbial inventory, available for study,” says Nüsslein. “Altogether we are creating an unusually rich repository of soil ecological information for future research use.”

Klaus Nüsslein
413-545-1356
nusslein@microbio.umass.edu

Klaus Nüsslein | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Hyperspektrale Bildgebung zur 100%-Inspektion von Oberflächen und Schichten

„Mehr sehen, als das Auge erlaubt“, das ist ein Anspruch, dem die Hyperspektrale Bildgebung (HSI) gerecht wird. Die neue Kameratechnologie ermöglicht, Licht nicht nur ortsaufgelöst, sondern simultan auch spektral aufgelöst aufzuzeichnen. Das bedeutet, dass zur Informationsgewinnung nicht nur herkömmlich drei spektrale Bänder (RGB), sondern bis zu eintausend genutzt werden.

Das Fraunhofer IWS Dresden entwickelt eine integrierte HSI-Lösung, die das Potenzial der HSI-Technologie in zuverlässige Hard- und Software überführt und für...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Klima-Satellit: Mit robuster Lasertechnik Methan auf der Spur

Hitzewellen in der Arktis, längere Vegetationsperioden in Europa, schwere Überschwemmungen in Westafrika – mit Hilfe des deutsch-französischen Satelliten MERLIN wollen Wissenschaftler ab 2021 die Emissionen des Treibhausgases Methan auf der Erde erforschen. Möglich macht das ein neues robustes Lasersystem des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Lasertechnologie ILT in Aachen, das eine bisher unerreichte Messgenauigkeit erzielt.

Methan entsteht unter anderem bei Fäulnisprozessen. Es ist 25-mal wirksamer als das klimaschädliche Kohlendioxid, kommt in der Erdatmosphäre aber lange nicht...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Future Security Conference 2017 in Nürnberg - Call for Papers bis 31. Juli

26.06.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Von Batterieforschung bis Optoelektronik

23.06.2017 | Veranstaltungen

10. HDT-Tagung: Elektrische Antriebstechnologie für Hybrid- und Elektrofahrzeuge

22.06.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

„Digital Mobility“– 48 Mio. Euro für die Entwicklung des digitalen Fahrzeuges

26.06.2017 | Förderungen Preise

Fahrerlose Transportfahrzeuge reagieren bald automatisch auf Störungen

26.06.2017 | Verkehr Logistik

Forscher sorgen mit ungewöhnlicher Studie über Edelgase international für Aufmerksamkeit

26.06.2017 | Physik Astronomie