In the field of observation, chance favours only the prepared mind (Pasteur). While the power of high-throughput sequencing has transformed our perspective of microbial diversity and function, the insights gained are typically retrospective in nature. This often limits our ability to perceive the microbial dimension of changes occurring in remote yet rapidly changing environments. Recently, we have experimented with Nanopore’s MinION platform as a tool for portable metagenomics, developing the “MetageNomad” - a DNA sequencing lab in a rucksack. Here I will share our experience in refining sample preparation, sequencing and bioinformatics analysis to conduct metagenomics at source in extreme environments from the High Arctic to the subsurface and even University classroom
Arwyn Edwards is a microbial ecologist at Aberystwyth University. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Biology at the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Environmental Microbiology. His research group is focused upon the evolution, structure, function and stability of microbial communities in extreme environments in response to environmental changes at both societally-relevant and “deep” geo/evolutionary timescales. Recently, Arwyn has demonstrated the importance of microbial ecosystem engineering of glacier surfaces as a crucial feedback affecting glacier loss.
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