Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Metagenomics 2008 Meeting Notes

I am going to post notes here for the Metagenomics 2008 meeting.

#1 - most everyone here seems really happy about the election

#2 - mooched a ride this morning to the conference site from some of the folks who run "The Seed" and related annotation and analysis servers.  I have written about them before but people really should check them out if you are interested in microbial genome analysis. 

#3 - Alex Worden is talking now about picoeukaryotes.  Alex does some of the coolest environmental microbiology out there and just happens to focus on groups of organisms that are frequently ignored.  She just said a key quote "Physiology is not a bulk or an average property" basically saying what I say which is that an environment is not simply a bag of genes.  That is we need to remember that there are real compartments in communities.  Alex just showed an interesting figure on rRNA sampling of uncultured eukaryotes from the Sargasso See (Not et al. EM 2007).   Another key point she has made is that microbial eukaryotes are barely sampled in terms of genomics

#4 - a ridiculously short break (the organizers of this meeting really really need to change the scheduling to have more time to talk to people in breaks).  

#5 - Oded Beja is talking now.  He is really one of the key people behind the entire metagenomics revolution as he was the lead on many of the papers from the Delong Lab onthe discovery of proteorhodopsin

#6 - Shannon Williamson is showing an incredibly cool contraption that she uses to take water samples and size fractionate them in the bottom of the ocean.  It is basically a series of filter systems that works on a platform that is run by a deep sea submersible ... this allows them to sample large volumes of water in the deep sea (larger volumes than they could bring back up to the surface)

#7 - a little note --- already many talks referring to using IMG, IMG/M and MG-RAST tools to help with annotation and analysis of genomes and metagenomes.  Clearly there is enormous demand for getting ones data analyzed by some public or semi-public tools ...

#8 - Yuri Gorby --- gave a talk about nanowires which are basically little mini cables that cells use to connect to other cells and shuttle electrons around.  This stuff is beyond cool --- it is completely fascinating.

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