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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY
Doing Business As Name:Mississippi State University
PD/PI:
  • Matthew W Brown
  • (662) 325-7404
  • Mwb250@msstate.edu
Award Date:04/14/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 1,114,943
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 1,114,943
  • FY 2021=$1,114,943
Start Date:04/15/2021
End Date:03/31/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: PurSUiT: Sampling amoeboid protists as a reservoir of unknown/undescribed eukaryotic diversity
Federal Award ID Number:2100888
DUNS ID:075461814
Parent DUNS ID:075461814
Program:Systematics & Biodiversity Sci
Program Officer:
  • Maureen Kearney
  • (703) 292-8239
  • mkearney@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:PO Box 6156
City:MISSISSIPPI STATE
State:MS
ZIP:39762-9662
County:Mississippi State
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Mississippi State University
Street:219 Harned Hall, 295 Lee Blvd
City:Mississippi State
State:MS
ZIP:39762-9536
County:Mississippi State
Country:US
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

Amoeboid microbes are fascinatingly diverse both ecologically and evolutionarily, but they are severely under-studied and poorly sampled. While they act as important players in nearly all ecosystems examined, very little is known about the true biodiversity that exists in nature. The primary goal of this project is to examine the biodiversity and genomic diversity of amoebae found in a broad variety of habitats from land to sea. The researchers will collect samples in the state of Mississippi to generate a much deeper cross-section of the group, which in turn will expand our knowledge of the environmental distribution and ecological function of the major eukaryotic amoeboid lineage, Amoebozoa. Amoebozoa resides on an important branch of the Eukaryotic Tree of Life, representing the closest relative to the lineage that contains animals and Fungi. As such, a deeper look into their evolution and biodiversity is important to better understand how microbial and multicellular eukaryotes evolved into the vast diversity we see today. This project will help train the next generation of systematists and taxonomists by providing research, teaching, and outreach opportunities for a postdoctoral scholar, as well as graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. Participation by project personnel in local public-school programs will provide education activities aimed at teaching biodiversity science to area students from a diverse community. The evolutionary mechanisms that led to the great diversity we observe today in in life cycle complexity, morphology, and ecological variation amongst eukaryotic amoeboids are largely unknown. This project will take an integrative approach to researching the biodiversity of this group using detailed morphological characterizations, comparative genomics, differential transcriptomics, and environmental DNA sequencing. It will provide a much deeper taxon sampling in genome and transcriptomes than is currently available for this group, and provide a more robust phylogenetic framework through which the evolution of genomic and life history traits can be analyzed. Using unique amoebozoan-specific barcoding primers, the environmental diversity of a group that is not well represented in surveys will be addressed. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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