Wednesday 11 September 2013

iOES Poster: Using metagenomics to assess soil microbial diversity under future climate scenarios

Joseph Jenkins, Prof. Gail Taylor, Dr. Rich Edwards.

1st International Environmental Omics Synthesis (iEOS) Conference, Cardiff, UK (Sept 11-13, 2013). Poster CE-3.


Soil microbes are responsible for the function of biogeochemical cycles, which are essential to maintain soil quality. Anthropogenic climate change is resulting in variation of the soil habitat, through alteration of a multitude of soil variables. In particular, prevalence of drought and use of geoengineering methods to sequester carbon (such as biochar) are expected to increase.

To test the implications of drought and biochar amendment in soil habitats, soil samples were collected from two long term experimental sites, and shotgun metagenomic sequencing undertaken to determine changes in soil microbial diversity. Furthermore, analysis of the method itself will be undertaken to determine potential issues with the technique, and to improve the methodology for future studies.

Future work will attempt to compare results of shotgun and amplicon metagenomic methods, and sequencing of additional biochar treated samples from a range of European sites undertaken. This will provide a means to compare changes in microbial diversity after biochar incorporation under a variety of field conditions, providing insight into its likely effects for soil microbial ecology.

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