Illuminating the Anthropocene Sea through Autonomous Sensing and Integrated 'Omics

Data Science Lecture Series


October 2, 2015
1:00pm to 2:30pm
190 Doe Library
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Every day, marine microorganisms "breathe" and exhale dissolved ions and gases, driving global cycling of essential elements, such as oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. These cycles reflect the collective behavior of 1029 organisms that assemble together into diverse and dynamic microbial communities—with a few dominant groups, many rare organisms, and all with variations in gene content evolving over time. Human activity adds to this complexity by acting as a selective force that is pushing our planet into a new geological period known as the "Anthropocene."  Unraveling the intricacies of microbial interactions, functions, and their responses to changing environmental conditions is therefore a major challenge—however, this process has been accelerated by the increasing breadth, depth, and integrated nature of oceanographic data. Autonomous and remote sensing have a comparatively long history in oceanography, and I will discuss how these data now allow us to resolve key ocean processes that were previously undetectable. When integrated with a variety of 'omics techniques, we can identify "cryptic" interactions and biogeochemical cycling, improving our understanding of marine food webs and feedbacks to environmental change. I will demonstrate how these data have altered our view of microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in the eastern Pacific Ocean and how we may better integrate autonomous and ‘omic data going forward.  


Michael Beman

Assistant Professor, School of Natural Sciences, UC Merced

The overarching goal of Mike’s research program is to develop a predictive understanding of microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in changing aquatic ecosystems. His research sits at the interface of microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and global change science, and he works worldwide in reefs and estuaries, marine lakes and mountain lakes, and the open ocean. He focuses on the responses of microbial communities, and the processes mediated by these communities, to environmental change. Mike received a BS from Yale University and a PhD from Stanford University in geological and environmental sciences and was an assistant researcher at the University of Hawaii before joining the UC Merced faculty in 2009. He is a member of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and the Environmental Systems and Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate groups and teaches classes in biology, environmental systems, and earth systems science.