NEON Science Monthly Seminar-Putting Microbes on the Map

Speaker: Clara Qin, UC Santa Cruz
Host: NEON Host Samantha Weintraub-Leff

Title: Putting microbes on the map: Using neonMicrobe to advance microbial biogeography

Abstract: While the growing availability of marker gene sequencing has created a surge in microbial biogeography research, synthesis across studies has been hindered by the variability among their sampling designs. Elucidating organismal patterns remains especially challenging because it requires a robust method for recognizing when sequences at different sites refer to the same taxa. NEON’s microbial marker gene data product line overcomes these methodological challenges by imposing a standardized sampling design and sequencing protocol across all of its monitoring sites, and the neonMicrobe R package is designed to facilitate access to this data in its raw sequence form—particularly for ecologists without extensive bioinformatics training. In this talk, I will describe how to use neonMicrobe to download, pre-process, and assemble a variety of NEON data structures for large-scale analyses of microbial distributions, and discuss some of my preliminary findings regarding the organismal patterns of North American soil fungi.