A deeper understanding of gene flow during times of extreme environmental stress in cold brines
Jodi Young is a Co-PI on a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation award, with Jody Deming (UW, PI), Hajo Eicken (UAF, Co-PI) and Matt Sullivan (Ohio State University, Co-PI), titled: “A deeper understanding of gene flow during times of extreme environmental stress in cold brines"
This project aims to develop a virus–bacterium–alga culture system and advancing methods to investigate how virus infection and stress impact gene flow and microbial evolution in cold, highly saline environments. We are undertaking research in the Arctic both within sea ice and in liquid brines within the permafrost called cryopegs.
Viral infection plays an important role in the transfer of genetic material across taxonomic boundaries. In extreme environments, organisms survive through genetic adaptations though we only have a rudimentary understanding on how these adaptations arise. Of particular interest are frozen environments where microorganisms are concentrated together within salty brine inclusions amongst the physical ice lattice. This project seeks to understand how genetic material is transferred in these extreme conditions through the interaction viruses, bacteria and algae by developing a novel virus-bacterium-algal model system.
Our lab’s contribution to the project is to understand how the presence of algae and their production of organic compounds affect bacterial-viral associations. See some photos from our recent fieldwork here!
Associated Lab Members: