October 3, 2019
Dr. Jessica Labonté, Texas A&M Galveston
You are what you eat: a geochemical and microbial study of a 3000-year old stratigraphic sediment succession
Microbes make up the majority of the biomass in sediment, where they play a role in cycling organic carbon and regulate the fluctuation of organic matter. In anoxic sediment, the relationships between geochemical gradients, genomic potential, and virus-host interactions remain understudied and poorly understood. I will present the results of our study of stratified sediments from anoxic sinkhole (Blackwood Sinkhole, Bahamas), where we analyzed the pore water chemistry analysis (nutrients, carbon, nitrogen), microbial community composition (16S rRNA gene and metagenomics), and virus-host interactions. Through the characterization of the relationships of microbes between each other and with their environment, we aim to identify the role organic and inorganic matter availability plays in shaping viral and prokaryotic communities, as well as how microbial communities shape their environment.
Dr. Labonté received her B.S. and M. Sc. from Laval University, and her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. She was a post-doctoral researcher at Bigelow Laboratory before heading to Texas A&M University at Galveston, where she currently is an Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on determining the role of viruses in aquatic environments, from the surface to below the seafloor, through the characterization of their relationships with their hosts.