Mapping the Uncharted Diversity of Arctic Marine Microbes

Project Description

The primary objective of this project is to enable the discovery and characterization of the largely unknown molecular diversity of bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic communities associated with Arctic sea ice and benthic habitats using next-generation DNA sequencing technologies and cutting-edge bioinformatics approaches. We refer to this strategy as ‘metagenomic mapping’ and argue that more detailed metagenomic maps will lead to many future discoveries. We are examining bacterial communities associated with sea ice, sediment, and the host-associated communities of sympagic (ice-associated) and epibenthic (living on the seafloor) organisms repeatedly during ice-covered seasons from around the Arctic. Our work involves exploration of the functional gene diversity of Arctic sea ice, surface sediments, and host-associated communities by metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing. We are particularly interested in functional genes required for survival in extreme Arctic environments, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and ice-binding proteins. We are also comparing the phylogenetic diversity of microbial communities (the “microbiome”) of Arctic sea ice and surface sediments by deep sequencing of DNA amplicons.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

picture of R. Eric Collins

R. Eric Collins

Assistant Professor
  • marine microbiology
  • bioinformatics
  • genomics and metagenomics
  • microbial ecology
  • sea ice biology
(907) 474-6482
Full Profile

Co-Principal Investigator

picture of Sarah Hardy

Sarah Hardy

Associate Professor
  • Benthic-pelagic coupling
  • Polar marine ecology
  • Reproduction and life-history strategies of marine invertebrates
  • Trophic interactions
  • Lipid and stable isotope analysis
  • Ecology of soft-sediment habitats
(907) 474-7616
Full Profile

Student Research Staff:

Brian Ulaski (CFOS grad student)

Project Funding

NOAA Ocean Exploration
Amount: $ 289,000
Start Date: 2014-09-00 End Date: 2016-09-00

Submit your project
If you are CFOS faculty, student or staff member without your project highlighted here, we want to hear from you.  CLICK HERE

Back to Top