September 1, 2017.
The Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) project at Biosphere 2 consists of three replicated artificial landscapes which are sealed within a climate-controlled glass house. LEO is composed of basaltic soil material with low organic matter, nutrients, and microbes. The landscapes are built to resemble zero-order basins and enables researchers to observe hydrological, biological, and geochemical evolution of landscapes in a controlled environment. This study is focused on capturing microbial community dynamics in LEO soil, pre- and post-controlled rainfall episodes. Soil samples were collected from six different positions and at five depths in each of the three slopes followed by DNA extraction from 180 samples and sent for sequencing. The average concentration of DNA recovered from each sample was higher in the post-rainfall samples than the pre-rainfall samples. This trend was seen throughout all three slopes. However, the variance in results among the individual samples between the three slopes indicates a variability between the slopes. The sequence data will be evaluated to reveal spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the soil microbes, providing a more exact narrative of the microbes present in each slope and spatiotemporal trends of microbial life in the landscapes.
Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Dr. Aditi Sengupta
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly SLO)
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under Grant # 1340110. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was also made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher and Researcher Program, in partnership with Chevron (www.chevron.com), the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (www.marinesanctuary.org), Biosphere 2, and University of Arizona, and the Maier Lab.