Biolunch Seminar, 27 Apr 2021
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Biological Oceanography Lunch Seminar
In pursuit of biological "dark matter": improving marine eukaryote reference libraries
UW School of Oceanography
11:30 A.M., via Zoom
ABSTRACT: Marine microbial eukaryotes (protists) play essential roles in biogeochemical cycles and aquatic ecosystems, functioning as photoautotrophs, mixotrophs, and heterotrophs. Knowledge of microbial populations has benefited greatly in recent decades from molecular sequencing methods, but this has proven challenging for eukaryotes due to their large, complex genomes and extensive genetic repertoire. This is further complicated by the difficulty in sequencing representatives from the uncultured majority. In this talk, I discuss advancements in sequencing microbial eukaryotes over the past decade and the challenges that remain with uncultured organisms, missing lineages, and database reproducibility. I will propose a new marine eukaryote reference library that incorporates updated reference transcriptomes, novel culture-independent sequencing methods, and genetic benchmarks to assess transcriptome completeness. Finally, I will talk about how this new reference library will be applied to improve annotations of eukaryotic metatranscriptomes from the North Pacific Transition Zone. Improving our reference sequence libraries is important in furthering our understanding of marine microbial eukaryotes and their functional potential in global oceans.