We are excited to announce two upcoming RCN EukHiTS events taking place during international scientific conferences in 2017-2018.
A limited number of travel stipends will be available for participants to attend these events. Preference will be given attendees traveling from US institutions, due to NSF funding restrictions. Please complete this Google Form if you plan on attending either of these events and would like to apply for a travel stipend (e.g. if you will be submitting an abstract to the OSM 2018 session or attending the BES workshop and also presenting a talk/poster). Researchers of all career stages are encouraged to apply, in particular females and underrepresented minorities.
Lunchtime Workshop at the British Ecological Society 2017 Annual Meeting (Dec 11-14, 2017 in Ghent, Belgium)**
**Full meeting registration and attendance is required for RCN travel support
Who is there and how do we know? Navigating the Complexities of Taxonomy assignments during eDNA Metabarcoding Studies.
Moderators: Holly Bik (University of California, Riverside), Simon Creer (Bangor University, UK) & John Colbourne (University of Birmingham, UK)
In contrast to traditional ecological studies, high-throughput sequencing approaches (eDNA metabarcoding and other –Omics workflows) are commonly carried out without any direct link between morphological and molecular data. Thus, one of the most challenging aspects of eDNA studies is the process of matching unknown nucleotides with a known taxonomic assignment (family, genus, or species ID). This workshop will clarify the use of databases and taxonomy assignment steps in eDNA metabarcoding studies. What tools and resources can (and should) be used for particular environments and target organisms? If an appropriate tool/database does not exist, how do you go about constructing your own local resource? The first part of the workshop will offer a lecture-based introduction to eDNA workflows, with an emphasis on common marker genes (16S/18S rRNA, ITS, COI, matK, etc.) and the tools/databases available for preparing standardized files for downstream ecological analysis (OTU tables analyzed in QIIME, mothur, OBITools, etc.). Next, small topic-focused groups will convene in a breakout session, to exchange ideas surrounding the use of both traditional and non-traditional metabarcoding markers; participants will be encouraged to share tools/scripts in a centrally accessible Dropbox folder. The workshop will conclude with a final reporting session by breakout group leaders and a wrap-up discussion to identify opportunities for moving forward. Workshop outputs will be used to prepare a review paper or community resource article focused on eDNA marker genes and current challenges with taxonomy assignments, and all participants will be invited to contribute as co-authors.
2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting (February 11-16, 2018 in Portland, Oregon)
Session Organizers: Holly Bik (University of California, Riverside), Sarah Hardy (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
Microbial eukaryotes (organisms <1mm, such as phytoplankton, meiofauna, fungi, protists, and eggs/larval stages of larger species) are abundant and ubiquitous in both pelagic and benthic habitats, performing key functions such as nutrient cycling and sediment stability in marine ecosystems. Yet, their unexplored diversity represents one of the major challenges in biology and currently limits our capacity to understand, mitigate and remediate the consequences of environmental change. Environmental ‘Omics tools are being increasingly used to address major gaps in our knowledge of diverse microbial eukaryote taxa. The modern molecular toolkit includes environmental rRNA surveys, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and targeted genome sequencing, and such deep sequencing approaches are now being used to test biological hypotheses for many taxa across marine habitats. Participants will be called upon to highlight the promise and challenge of using molecular approaches across the Eukaryotic Tree of Life, focusing on applications in diverse disciplines such as benthic ecology, biological oceanography, and computer science. We aim to catalyze cross-disciplinary interactions, facilitating discussions on how the ocean sciences can adapt to continued, rapid advances in sequencing technologies and bioinformatics. This session will be sponsored by NSF RCN EukHiTS (https://eukhits.wordpress.com), providing travel awards for selected students and early-career participants with submitted abstracts.