I realize this post is a little late, but I would like to give everyone an overview of the project I’ll be working on this summer. I will be continuing my research in Dr. Williamson’s Phage Ecology Lab. This summer I will continue working to determine the viral and bacterial abundance and diversity in Lake Matoaka and it’s surrounding watershed. Six sample sites have been determined (three water and three soil sites) and our samples will be drawn from these sites for processing this summer and in the coming year. Please see the attached graphic for a visual representation of these six sites.
From these samples, the abundance of the viral and bacterial communities will be determined via flourescence microscopy. Slides will be made of the samples at various concentrations, stained with SYBR Gold and the viruses and bacteria present on the slides will be enumerated under the microscope. The SYBR Gold intercolates with the nucleic acid is the individual viruses and bacteria and causes the specimen to flouresce and become visible for counting.
To determine the diversity of the bacterial communities in Lake Matoaka and the surrounding soil, a process called Terminal Restriction Fragment Lenght Polymorphism (tRFLP) will be used. Please see this link for a good summary of this process: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_restriction_fragment_length_polymorphism. To determine the diversity of the viral communities in Lake Matoaka and the surrounding soil, a process called Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) will be used. Please see this link for a good summary of this process: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsed_field_gel_electrophoresis. Some DNA sequencing will be used as well.
In addition to determining the abundance and diversity of the viral and bacterial communities, we will work to determine the level of overlap between the water and soil environments through statistical anaylsis. We will also examine such metadata as pH, salinity (water), Cholorphyll a levels, water temperature, air temperature, rainfall events, moisture content (soil), etc., looking at what possible effects, if any, these factors have on the soil and water bacterial and viral communities.
This project is a very unique one in the field of virology and I can’t wait to get started. I’ll write again soon!