Organisms & Evolution Seminar | Dr. Brett Baker, Assistant Professor of Marine Science, University of Texas, Austin | Exploring new branches of life in the deep sea

Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 12:00 to 13:00
Brett Baker

Microorganisms are key mediators in nearly all of the planet's elemental cycles. However, our understanding of the evolution and ecological roles of many groups of microbes has been hampered by low-resolution analytical approaches to studying the staggering diversity present in nature. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies and computational analyses have made it possible to reconstruct the genomes and transcriptomes of uncultured natural populations. The characterization of new lineages from my laboratory studies has expanded the tree of life and our understanding of microbial biodiversity, ecology, and evolution. Among these new branches of life are those that play key roles in carbon and nutrients cycling, including the degradation of hydrocarbons. We have also been focused on microbes that are closely related to eukaryotes, the Asgard archaea, which have had a broad impact on our understanding of the origin of eukaryotes.