The session I co-chaired yesterday certainly had an eclectic range of talks that showcased some of the diversity of microbial lifestyles that exist. In addition to my talk on microbial slime communities living deep in caves beneath the Nullarbor desert, other talks looked at microbial communities living on truffles, in the air above hurricanes, on avian egg shells, on leaves in Brazilian rainforest trees, in the soil of logged forests, and in rotting corpses. I particularly enjoyed the last of these, Jessica Metcalf from Rob Knight's lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder gave a talk on trying to develop microbial forensics (essentially CSI Microbiology). She was seeing if microbial communities associated with rotting corpses changed over time in a consistent manner that might allow forensic scientists to use the microbial communities to date the age of the corpse. I now know much more about rotting corpses than I used, did you know there are five stages of corpse decomposition, with stages 2 and 3 being bloating and rupture, respectively? Makes for wonderful dinner time conversations. I'm sure Jessica was very popular in her lab with lots of boxes of soil with rotting mice.
|We ate at this excellent French restaurant the other night, the menus were only in French and Danish which I took as a good sign. Anyway the name of the restaurant seemed appropriate for scientists to eat at.|