Environmental Microbiology Research Initiative seminar - A new view of the tree of life and the roles of novel lineages in subsurface biogeochemistry
The terrestrial subsurface has been one of the least explored of Earth's environments. We have been using genome-resolved metagenomic approaches to explore the biology of soils, sediments, groundwater and deep subsurface environments and have found an astonishing diversity of bacteria and archaea from little known or unknown lineages. Genomic information has helped to define major sub-domains of the tree of life and to constrain the metabolic potential of community members. We find evidence that metabolic handoffs link a shifting array of distinct community members. We predict that obligate symbioses are common and that the symbionts have unexpected biological characteristics, including unusual ribosome compositions, introns in RNA genes and interesting phage defense strategies that include previously unknown minimal CRISPR-Cas systems of technological interest.
Hosted by the Environmental Microbiology Research Initiative.
Professor Jill Banfield, University of California Berkeley
Professor Jill Banfield
University of California Berkeley
Banfield’s career began at the Australian National University where she completed her bachelor's and master's degrees (1978–1985). She attributes her initial interest in geomicrobiology to Dr Tony Eggleton who drew her attention to processes at the earth's surface, mineral weathering and the regolith. Banfield graduated with a Ph.D in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1990 under the supervision of Professor David Veblen. Banfield has been a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1990 to 2001 and The University of Tokyo (1996–1998). Since 2001, she has been a researcher and professor at the University of California Berkeley. Here she heads their geomicrobiology program and works as a researcher under the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She is a recent fractional Professorial appointment in the Environmental Microbiology Research Initiative in the Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne. Her current research spans from field sites in Northern California to Australia and from subjects including astrobiology and genomics/geosciences.