Within a forest’s soil, a microbiome of bacteria, viruses and fungi process carbon and nitrogen, paving the way for future plants and trees to grow. However, fire changes the microbes within the soil. Recently, JGI collaborators worked to understand which microbes in the soil persist after a wildfire — and why they thrive. Their results appear in Nature Microbiology.
In Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, the University of East Anglia, and the JGI have explored the genome of the polar algae Microglena sp. YARC. The green alga harbors extra genes for proteins requiring zinc, and those genes turn out to be key for the phytoplankton’s ability to live in cold polar waters. Learn more here on the JGI website.
In Nature Communications, an international team involving researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ), the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) and the JGI uncovered associations between plant roots and fungi that can help or harm plant host health. They compared the genomes of fungi that colonize Arabidopsis thaliana roots with genomes from other plant-associated fungi. Learn more here on the JGI website.
The cold polar oceans give rise to some of the largest food webs on Earth. And at their base are microscopic, photosynthetic algae. But human-induced climate change, a new study suggests, is displacing these important cold-water communities of algae with warm-adapted ones, a trend that threatens to destabilize the delicate marine food web and change the oceans as we know them.
The JGI Community Sequencing Program enabled the discovery of these worrisome circumstances for algal communities. Click here to read the news release on the JGI website.
Anaerobic fungi, which die in the presence of oxygen, thrive in herbivore guts and help them digest their host’s last leafy meal. In their evolutionary history, these fungi branched off early from aerobic fungi, which can breathe oxygen — just like we do. Oxygen is a rich source of energy, and because anaerobic fungi can’t harness it, scientists long held that these fungi don’t have the energy to make complex compounds called natural products. Yet, analyzing the genomes and genome products of four anaerobic fungal species has revealed that this group is unexpectedly powerful: they can whip up dozens of complex natural products, including new ones. The work was partly enabled by the “Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science” (FICUS) collaborative science initiative between the JGI and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. Read the full science highlight on the JGI website.