ECOSYSTEM GENOMICS: ELUCIDATING THE GENETIC DRIVERS OF NUTRIENT FLUXES IN BRYOPHYTE DOMINATED COMMUNITIES
ID: 613 / 151
Proposed Symposium Title: ECOSYSTEM GENOMICS: ELUCIDATING THE GENETIC DRIVERS OF NUTRIENT FLUXES IN BRYOPHYTE DOMINATED COMMUNITIES
Abstract: Bryophytes are ubiquitous plants that comprise globally significant carbon sinks in rapidly changing high-latitude and desert ecosystems. Early bryophytes likely played a critical role in the terrestrialization of Earth by altering mineral weathering, building soil carbon, and oxygenating the atmosphere. Current bryophyte productivity is strongly influenced by highly specific interactions with diverse consortia of N-fixing microbes and mesofauna, with major ramifications for nutrient cycling and ecosystem function. Remarkably, these associations are mediated by specific moss exometabolites that elicit behaviors in target organisms. Understanding how these interactions influence community assembly and productivity is a goal that requires applying powerful laboratory tools and manipulations to ecologically relevant species. Our objective here is to assemble a symposium highlighting recent work on several mosses to identify the molecular basis of ecologically consequential inter-organism interactions. This work is important for predicting how carbon and nitrogen cycling in bryophyte dominated ecosystems, globally significant carbon sinks which are on the front lines of climate change due polar amplification of warming and shifting precipitation patterns, will be affected by warming. This work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on conceptual and technological advances in several fields, making it relevant to several broad areas of inquiry within the IBC community.
We have chosen to include research on genomic variation in the genus Sphagnum which contributes to carbon fixation and ecosystem engineering; transcriptomic analyses of feather-moss associated nitrogen fixation in a changing Arctic; and transgenic manipulations of the moss model Physcomitrium patens to elucidate the nature of signals between mosses and nitrogen fixing microbes. We anticipate that this symposium will attract interest from numerous other researchers in the field conducting groundbreaking work on the volatile signals between mosses and soil arthropods, the molecular basis and ecological consequences of variation in drought tolerance, and many other topics.
Speaker 1: Dr. David Weston
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Insights into the Sphagnum – microbiome interactions mediating nutrient exchange and abiotic stress tolerance
Speaker 2: Dr. Chris Dupont
J. Craig Venter Institute
Genomic distinctions in each partner of an epiphytic bacterial-moss mutualism
Speaker 3: Dr. Danillo Alvarenga
University of Copenhagen
Unraveling host-microbe interactions and ecosystem functions in moss-bacteria symbioses
Topics (Up to three): Bryology
Topic 2: Comparative Genomics / Transcriptomics
Topic 3: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions
Justification: This symposium will bring novel views to a globally relevant and highly interdisciplinary topic, spanning at minimum Bryology, Functional and Comparative Genomics, Global Change Ecology, and Plant-Microbe interactions. Moreover, the lab groups of proposed contributors are all highly diverse, with multiple trainees from the Global South. We will make every effort to assemble a high-quality panel of presenters that maximize multiple axes of diversity, including gender, career stage, geography, study system, and conceptual approach. We anticipate that the IBC will provide the ideal setting for well-attended and dynamic discussions of genetic drivers of nutrient fluxes in bryophyte dominated communities.