Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Genes to Geoscience

So this is my first attempt at live blogging. The next two days I'm at the Genes to Geoscience Outlook Retreat. Genes to Geoscience is a virtual Macquarie University Research Centre that includes groups with research interests as diverse as genomics, functional ecology, earth system science and palaeontology. One of the objectives of this centre is to get researchers with such eclectic interests talking to each other and hopefully doing cool science together. I've always thought that the most interesting science is done in the overlap between different scientific disciplines.

Outlook is an annual retreat which has an interesting structure, in the morning sessions we have a series of invited talks from local and international speakers, and in the afternoon we have a series of breakout discussion sessions, which serve as sort of thinktanks for new research directions/ideas. I gave a talk at Outlook a couple of years ago, and have chaired breakout discussion sessions the last couple of years.

9.30 The first talk today was by Mick Follows from MIT, who gave a very interesting talk about trying to model marine ecosystems across the entire globe, he has built a "Sim Earth" which attempts to model the distribution of marine phytoplankton through the oceans and looks at impacts of nitrogen, phosphorus and iron on the success of particular phytoplankton lineages. In particular, it shows the importance of iron concentration on the distribution of nitrogen-fixing bacteria across the globe.

11.30 Emma Johnston from UNSW gave a talk on ecotoxicology, not a topic I really know much about, though interestingly some of the work we do on the effects of toxic compounds on microbial gene expression could conceivably fall into this research area.

12.00 Martin Ostrowski from my group gave an interesting talk on his work on using genomics and flow cytometry to look at the distribution and diversity of photosynthetic marine cyanobacteria through the world's oceans

12.40 yay, lunch! followed by breakout discussion groups, probably won't be any blogging during this time. 

This image of chlorophyll abundance in the ocean shows the global distribution of phytoplankton (taken from and seemed relevant to the theme of Outlook.

No comments:

Post a Comment