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Day 1

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iFAST Microbial Ecology - Day 1

Microbial Ecology

Date: Apr. 4, 2022

Time:  10:00 am - 12:30 pm U.S. EDT
            2:00 pm - 4:30 pm GMT
            10:00 pm - (Apr. 5) 12:30 am China

U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

* The webinar will generally open 30 min earlier (9:30 EDT) for panelists and start broadcasting 10 min earlier (9:50 EDT).

10:00 am - 10:10 am


Mary Firestone is a soil microbial ecologist who has worked extensively on the roles of soil microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems including microbial mediation of nitrogen oxidation and reduction processes, adaptation of microbes to the desiccation characteristic of arid and semi-arid soils, and C- and N-based interactions among plant roots and soil organisms. She earned degrees  in microbiology and soil science from Michigan State University and joined the faculty at University of California, Berkeley in 1979 where she was active in faculty governance, chairing the faculty senate in 2008.  She is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Soil Science Society of America, American Academy of Microbiology, Ecological Society of America, and American Geophysical Union.

10:10 am - 10:40 am

Keynote: How Measurements at High Spatial Resolution Have Improved Our Understanding of the Nitrogen Cycle

Niels Peter Revsbech received his PhD in microbial ecology in 1981. He became professor of microbiology at Aarhus University in 1997. From 2017 to 2020 he was leading the Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology. Together with his technicians, students and postdocs he has developed several novel microscale (2–100 µm tip diameter) sensors including biosensors for nitrate + nitrite, nitrite, methane, urea, and volatile fatty acids. He has used these sensors extensively for the study of microbial metabolism in sediments, soils, sea- and wastewater, and biofilms. According to Institute for Scientific Information he has published more than 200 scientific papers that have been cited more than 17.000 times. His work has been recognized with several awards.

10:40 am - 10:55 am

What I Learnt from Syntrophy

I was in Michigan State University from 1993-1995, working with Jim on 2,4-D degradation by microbes that had never been exposed to the herbicide. I learnt a lot through the study. My present studies are 1) ecology and physiology of methanogens and syntrophy in anaerobic environments and 2) cultivation of yet-to-be cultured microbes. Current affiliation: National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

10:55 am - 11:10 am

Ecological Roles and Life Strategy of Archaea in Marine Sediment

Fengping Wang is a distinguished professor in the School of Oceanography, Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU), China. Her major research interests include Geomicrobiology, Deep Biosphere, and life-earth co-evolution. She attended several cruises, such as the East Pacific Rise in 2014, IODP North Pond Expedition in 2011, Guaymas Cruise in 2009, and Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrates in 2006. She serves as an ambassador and on the international board of the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME); associate editor for Frontiers in marine molecular biology and ecology and editor for Systematic and Applied Microbiology. She was a facility board member of the European community for ocean research drilling (ECORD) and scientific steering committee member of deep life - deep carbon observatory (DL-DCO). She won the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) in 2015. To date, Dr. Wang has published more than 120 peer-reviewed papers in high-impact international journals including Nat Microbiol, ISME J, PNAS, Environ Microbiol, Appl Environ Microbiol, Geobiology, Sci Rep, Fron Microbiol. (short bio-sketch)

11:10 am - 11:25 am

Electrically Conductive Cable Bacteria in Nitrogen Cycling

(Website at Aarhus University)

Andreas (Andy) Schramm did his Master’s degree in Biology at the Technical University of Munich (1995), and his PhD with Rudi Amann at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany (1998). After postdoc years with Harold Drake at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and Dave Stahl at the University of Washington, Seattle, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Bayreuth, and since 2004 has been at Aarhus University, Denmark. From 2010 to 2017 he served as Head of the Section for Microbiology, and is currently professor of Microbial Ecology and Vice Head of the Center of Electromicrobiology. His research interests are microbial ecophysiology and evolution, including cable bacteria, microbe-host interactions, and microbes involved in aquatic nitrogen cycling and sediment biogeochemistry.

(5 min break)

11:30 am - 11:45 am

Bacterial Diversity in the Amazon Forest Floor: from Basics to Applied

(Website at Embrapa)

Institution: Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa)

Ederson Jesus holds an undergraduate degree in Agronomy from the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a master’s and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Microbiology and Soil Sciences, respectively, from the Federal University of Lavras, Brazil. He has been in Tiedje Lab on two occasions: a visiting student working on bacterial diversity in Amazon soils and later as a postdoc at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

Ederson has been a scientific investigator at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, also known as Embrapa., since 2011. His research focuses on soil microbial ecology and plant-microbe interactions. On the first topic, he has been working on understanding the ecology of microbial communities in the Amazon Forest Floor, the impact of land use on these communities, and the relationship between the soil environment and animal health. On the topic of plant-microbial interactions, he has been working with biological nitrogen fixation on common beans, conducting research both in the lab and the crop field.

Dr. Jesus leaded projects funded by Brazilian and international funding agencies such as the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine of the United States, and the Department of Energy of the United States. He has been collaborating with researchers in Brazil and abroad as well.

11:45 am - 12:00 am

Reasons and Chance: Quantifying Microbial Community Assembly Mechanisms

Daliang Ning is a research scientist in Prof. Jizhong Zhou’s lab at the Institute for Environmental Genomics (IEG), the University of Oklahoma (OU), since 2016. He obtained his Bachelor and Ph.D. degree in Environmental Science and Engineering in 2003 and 2009 at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. Then, he joined IEG as a postdoctoral research associate in 2012. His current focus is microbial ecology, particularly mathematical ecology and community assembly mechanisms, in environmental engineering and in response to global changes. His recent representative products include quantitative frameworks for community assembly mechanism research and global biodiversity of wastewater microbiome, published in Nature Communications, PNAS, and Nature Microbiology. He is also serving as an editor for Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering and Frontiers in Microbiology.

12:00 pm -  12:15 pm

Microbial Mediation of Grassland C Cycle: Stories from in the Field

Mengting Yuan is a soil microbial ecologist and currently a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. Mary Firestone at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research directions include soil microbial responses to climate change, microbial interactions and network stability, rhizosphere ecology, soil food web mapping and belowground carbon dynamics. Mengting received her Bachelor of Engineering degree in the School of Environment, Tsinghua University in 2011. She then joined the Institute for Environmental Genomics at the University of Oklahoma and worked on her doctoral degree from 2011 to 2017 under the supervision of Dr. Jizhong Zhou and Dr. Boris Wawrik.

12:15 pm - 12:30 pm

Algal Microbiomes Alter Competitive Interactions between Their Hosts

Vincent Denef obtained his B.S. ad M.Sc. in Biological engineering at the University of Leuven in Belgium, and pursued his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences at  Gent University in Belgium (2005), while spending 3 years as a visiting scholar in Jim Tiedje’s lab at the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University. He then did a postdoc in Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley, after which he started as an Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan in 2012, where he is now a tenured Associate Professor. His laboratory contributes to answering a core question in ecology: how do within- and between-species interactions shape microbial community diversity, composition, and functioning? They develop this core research question in two main research themes. Work on the first theme focuses on how invasive species alter within- and between-species planktonic interactions in freshwater lakes, with an emphasis on the Great Lakes. A more recent theme addresses the question of how bacteria can alter the strength and type (facilitation, neutral, or competition) of interactions between eukaryotic species, using phytoplankton as the model system.