An article by Professor Bill Landesman (Biology), titled “Seasonal, sub-seasonal and diurnal variation of soil bacterial community composition in a temperate deciduous forest” was recently accepted for publication in FEMS Microbiology Ecology. the authors studied how soil bacterial communities change over time in a small (2.4m x 2.4m) study plot in a deciduous forest. Samples were collected on 2-3 dates during every season, and on each sampling date they removed soil samples every four hours for 24 hours. They found that bacterial community composition was distinct during each season and, within seasons, that bacterial community composition changed every 3-6 weeks. Soil bacteria play critical roles in a diversity of ecosystem processes, such as soil fertility, carbon sequestration and the release of greenhouse gases. This improved understanding of the temporal patterns of bacterial communities will aid researchers in understanding how soil bacteria influence these and other important ecosystem processes.
A second article by Dr. Landesman, titled “Potential effects of blood meal host on bacterial community composition in Ixodes scapularis nymphs” was recently accepted for publication in Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases. Kenneth Mulder (Mathematics) is an author on this paper. The goal of this study was to characterize the composition of bacterial communities inhabiting black-legged ticks (the “tick microbiome”) in relation to the source of the blood meal host. The authors demonstrated that ticks that fed from different hosts contain distinct assemblages of bacteria. Of particular interest was that the abundance of a Rickettsia species varied widely among ticks fed from different host species. This is significant because the Rickettsia that inhabit black-legged ticks are believed to be endosymbionts that play a role in tick survival. The finding of potential tick-host-microbiome interactions will aid researchers in determining the role of the tick microbiome in pathogen transmission.
Andrea Silvestri ’18), Bonnie Nightingale ’18), Jada Lee ’19, and Obadiah Mulder assisted with laboratory and data analyses. (Andrea appears in the photo.)