IGN 19 - Put a Number on It: Quantitative Microbial Ecology for Deeper and Broader Scientific Impact

Thursday, August 10, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
C123, Oregon Convention Center
Sarah E. Evans, Michigan State University
Tom Curtis, Newcastle University
Sarah E. Evans, Michigan State University
Microbes power biogeochemical cycles and significantly alter host fitness. Yet the way we study microbes can be detached from the quantitative assessments needed to link community properties to larger scale processes or ecological theory. Increasingly microbial communities are viewed through lenses of ordinations, relative abundances, sequences counts, and treatment effects. Likewise, many measurements are in units that are difficult to compare across studies (e.g. community similarity), or describe a proxy (e.g. lipid biomarker signatures) that is difficult to scale to other relevant variables. Complementing relative approaches with quantitative assessments will increase the impact and extrapolation potential of microbial studies. This session aims to highlight existing efforts – and motivate future studies – that ground microbial research in absolute, comparable numbers for greater impact and broader engagement in the field. Speakers will demonstrate diverse ways that they have, or plan to, ‘put a number on it’ across various study systems. These brief research descriptions may describe mathematical and laboratory methods (both new and old) that aid in quantification, but may also highlight simple auxiliary measurements or calculations that have served to effectively contextualize results. In this session, we hope to assess methodological and conceptual gaps in microbial ecology and provide concrete ways to increase the impact of microbial research using quantitative approaches.
 Catching up bacterial diversity
Luis D. Alcaraz, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
 The numbers game
Tom Curtis, Newcastle University
 Using quantitative stable isotope probing to characterize the functional ecology of microbial phylogenetic groups
Ember Morissey, University of West Virginia; Bruce A. Hungate, Northern Arizona University
 I got a number! Now what?
Katherine Todd-Brown, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
 Quantifying microbial dispersal rates in freshwater systems
Silke Langenheder, Uppsala University; Eva Lindström, Uppsala University
 Linking microbial physiology and biogeochemical dynamics through individual-based modeling
Christina Kaiser, University of Vienna; Sarah E. Evans, Michigan State University; Ulf Dieckmann, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis; Stefanie Widder, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research
 Quantitative frontiers in microbial ecology
Bruce A. Hungate, Northern Arizona University
 Quantifying stability in microbial communities by accounting for dormancy
Patrick J. Kearns, Michigan State University; Jackson W. Sorensen, Michigan State University; Ashley Shade, Michigan State University
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