Grant: $128,834 - National Science Foundation - Jul. 28, 2009
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Award Description: Symbiont separation and investigation of the novel heterotrophic Osedax symbiosis using comparative genomics: The diversity and pervasiveness of bacterial partnerships with animals is only now being fully appreciated. In many marine environments these symbioses play critical roles in sustaining high productivity. This project concerns symbioses between a group of gutless worms within the genus Osedax and their microbial symbionts. These keystone species are found at deep-sea whale falls worldwide at depths ranging from 25 to 3000 meters. Evidence suggests that the most likely nutritional source for both partners is collagen present within the whale bone, however, very little is known about the specific functional capabilities of each partner in this regard. Although all Osedax species have similarities, they differ in the identity and biomass of their symbiotic populations. These differences can contribute to observed ecological differences among Osedax species. The acquisition of genomic information from the symbiotic bacteria will facilitate our understanding of the metabolic machinery used in these unique symbioses. Analysis of single symbiont genomes, however, is often problematic due to difficulties in separating the bacteria from the host tissue and cells. To address this problem, the investigators will use a recently developed technique for purifying specific bacterial cells called immuno-magnetic separation (Magneto-FISH). Subsequent genomic comparisons between symbionts in three Osedax species will offer the opportunity to not only learn important details regarding the specific metabolism and biochemistry of the bacterial symbionts, but to also identify the factors that result from, and contribute to, intimate interactions between bacteria and higher organisms. Symbiosis research is inherently multi-disciplinary and this RUI project will directly introduce undergraduates to the disciplines of microbiology, molecular ecology, genomics, and symbiosis.
Project Description: Quarterly Activities: This grant has only been active for 1 month, however, within that time we have received a demo model of the Invitrogen high powered magnet, which we will evaluate for usefulness in meeting the stated goals of the project. We have purchased, and received, hybridization ovens for conducting the necessary CARD-FISH reactions and we have evaluated and decided to purchase the 80i epifluorescent microscope from Nikon. Once all of these items are in place, we will begin preliminary laboratory experiments.
Jobs Summary: none so far (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 28, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.