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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY, INC
Doing Business As Name:Montana State University
PD/PI:
  • David M Ward
  • (406) 994-3401
  • umbdw@montana.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Devaki Bhaya
  • Arthur R Grossman
  • John F Heidelberg
  • Frederick M Cohan
Award Date:08/06/2003
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 4,999,690
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 5,042,830
  • FY 2006=$664,709
  • FY 2004=$43,140
  • FY 2003=$2,990,606
  • FY 2007=$696,034
  • FY 2005=$648,341
Start Date:09/01/2003
End Date:08/31/2011
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:490100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:FIBR: Do Species Matter in Microbial Communities?
Federal Award ID Number:0328698
DUNS ID:625447982
Parent DUNS ID:079602596
Program:FRONTIERS IN BIO RES (FIBR)
Program Officer:
  • Elizabeth Blood
  • (703) 292-4349
  • eblood@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:309 MONTANA HALL
City:BOZEMAN
State:MT
ZIP:59717-2470
County:Bozeman
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Montana State University
Street:309 MONTANA HALL
City:BOZEMAN
State:MT
ZIP:59717-2470
County:Bozeman
Country:US
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Species are considered fundamental units in plant and animal communities. The major biological question in this project is whether species are also fundamental units of communities of microorganisms. This question is hotly debated. Although microorganisms reproduce asexually they have several mechanisms for exchanging genetic material. If this "horizontal gene transfer" among microorganisms is rampant and promiscuous, it might be necessary to conceptualize microbial species quite differently from species of plants and animals. The question will be addressed by evaluating the hypothesis, based on evolutionary theory, that genetically distinct individuals are grouped into ecologically distinct populations that exhibit properties of species -- they express unique sets of genes, occupy unique niches and are irreversibly separate in their evolution. A well-studied hot spring microbial mat community in Yellowstone National Park and its predominating cyanobacterial populations are the targets of investigation. Genomic sequencing methods will be used to investigate genetic variation among mat cyanobacteria. Population genetics and evolutionary simulation methods will be used to evaluate whether these variants can be grouped into putative ecologically specialized populations with the properties of species. Microarray methods will be used to examine which genes in cyanobacterial genomes are highly expressed in the mat. The distribution of allelic variants of highly expressed genes should correlate with the distribution of putative ecological populations if the theory is correct. The discovery of genetically separable ecological microbial populations will broadly impact thinking in microbial evolution, systematics, ecology and physiology and will unify evolutionary principles across the breadth of size and complexity among organisms. The team is a balance of young and established, male and female investigators from geographically and demographically diverse institutions. The research integrates principles from evolutionary biology with techniques derived from the fields of microbial ecology, microbial physiology and genomics, providing a cross-training opportunity that will help fill the chasms separating these fields. Participants will share their disciplinary perspectives with each other and the scientific community through a workshop series that will lead to web-based learning modules. Since the microbial community under investigation is in Yellowstone Park, there will be numerous opportunities for interaction with the park's trained informal educators. Preparation of new educational resources (e.g., resource manual for educating seasonal rangers and park managers, signage, trail guides, websites and exhibits for a new Visitor Education Center) will help millions of annual visitors, young and old, change the way they think about microorganisms. A central project website (http://landresources.montana.edu/FIBR) will (i) describe the project, (ii) link to other websites that will present genomic and microarray data, research tools and educational products, and (iii) interpret all results in the context of project objectives.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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AT. Ulijasz, G. Cornilescu, D. von Stetten, S. Kaminsky, M.A. Mroginski, J. Zhang, D. Bhaya, P. Hildebrandt, and R. D. Vierstra "Characterization of two thermostable cyanobacterial phytochromes reveal global movements in the chromophore?binding domain during photoconversion" J.Biol. Chem., v.Epub, 2008, p..

Ward, D.M. "A macroscopic perspective on microbial species" Microbe, v.1, 2006, p.269.

Ulijasz, AT, G. Cornilescu, D. von Stetten, S. Kaminsky, M.A. Mroginski, J. Zhang, D. Bhaya, P. Hildebrandt, and R. D. Vierstra "Characterization of two thermostable cyanobacterial phytochromes reveal global movements in the chromophore?binding domain during photoconversion" J.Biol. Chem., v.283, 2008, p.21.

Cohan, F. M. and E. B. Perry. "A systematics for identifying the fundamental units of bacterial diversity." Current Biology, v.17, 2007, p.R373.

Cohan, F. M. and E. B. Perry. "A systematics for identifying the fundamental units of bacterial diversity." Current Biology, v.17, 2007, p.R373.

Cohan, F.M.;Kopac, S.M. "Microbial genomics: E. coli relatives out of doors and out of body" Current Biology, v.21, 2011, p.R587.

Wiedenbeck, J.;Cohan, F.M. "Origins of bacterial diversity through horizontal gene transfer and adaptation to new ecological niches" FEMS Microbiology Reviews, v.35, 2011, p.957.

Cohan, F.M. "Tracking bacterial resonses to global warming with an ecotype-based systemtics" Clinical Microbiology and Infection, v.15 (s1), 2009, p.54.

Steunou A-S, Jensen S, Brecht E., Becraft E.D., Bateson, Kilian O, Bhaya D. , Ward D.M., Peters J.W., Grossman A.R., Kuehl M. "Regulation of nif Gene Expression and the Energetics of N2 Fixation over the Diel Cycle in a Hot Spring Microbial Mat" ISME Journal, v.2, 2008, p.36.

Koeppel, A., E. B. Perry, J. Sikorski, D. Krizanc, W. A. Warner, D. M .Ward, A. P. Rooney, E. Brambilla, N. Connor, E. Nevo, R. M. Ratcliff, and F. M. Cohan. "Identifying the fundamental units of bacterial diversity: A paradigm shift to incorporate ecology into bacterial systematics" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, v.105, 2008, p.2504.

Koeppel, A., E. B. Perry, J. Sikorski, D. Krizanc, W. A. Warner, D. M .Ward, A. P. Rooney, E. Brambilla, N. Connor, E. Nevo, R. M. Ratcliff, and F. M. Cohan. "Identifying the fundamental units of bacterial diversity: A paradigm shift to incorporate ecology into bacterial systematics" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, v.105, 2008, p.2504.

Gu, H., Lalonde, S., Looger, L.L., Okumoto, S., Scharff, A.-M., Grossman, A.R., Kossmann, J., Jacobsen, I. and Frommer, W.B. "Detection of phosphate uptake and metabolism in CHO cells by engineered nanosensors." FEBS Lett., v.580, 2006, p.5885.

Melendrez, M.C., R.K. Lange, F.M. Cohan and D.M. Ward "Influence of molecular resolution on sequence-based discovery of ecological diversity among Synechococcus populations in an alkaline siliceous hot spring microbial mat" Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v.77, 2011, p.13.

Heidelberg JF, Nelson WC, Schoenfeld T, Bhaya D "Germ Warfare in a Microbial Mat Community: CRISPRs Provide Insights into the Co-Evolution of Host and Viral Genomes" PLoS ONE, v.4, 2009, p.e4169. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004169 

Cohan, F. M. "Tracking bacterial responses to global warming with an ecotype-based systematics" Clinical Microbiology, v.15(s1), 2009, p.54.

Steunou, A.-S., D. Bhaya, M. M. Bateson, M.C. Melendrez, D. M. Ward, E. Brecht, J.W. Peters, M. Kühl and A.R. Grossman. "In situ analysis of nitrogen fixation and metabolic switching in unicellular thermophilic cyanobacteria inhabiting hot spring microbial mats" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., U.S.A, v.103, 2006, p.2398.

Steunou, A.-S., D. Bhaya, M. M. Bateson, M.C. Melendrez, D. M. Ward, E. Brecht, J.W. Peters, M. Kühl and A.R. Grossman. "In situ analysis of nitrogen fixation and metabolic switching in unicellular thermophilic cyanobacteria inhabiting hot spring microbial mats" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., U.S.A, v.103, 2006, p.2398.

Godreuil, S., F. Cohan, H. Shah, and M. Tibayrenc "Species concepts in microbes: Can we reconcile medicine and evolution? An E-debate." Infection, Genetics and Evolution, v.5, 2005, p.375.

Feldgarden, M., N. Byrd, and F. M. Cohan. "Gradual evolution in bacteria: Evidence from Bacillus systematics" Microbiology, v.149, 2003, p.3565.

Becraft, E.D., F.M. Cohan, M. Kuehl, S. Jensen, and D.M. Ward "Fine-scale distribution patterns of Synechococcus ecological diversity in the microbial mat of Mushroom Spring, Yellowstone National Park." Appl. Environ. Microbiol., v.77, 2011, p.7689-7697.

van der Meer M.T.J., C.G. Klatt, J. Wood, D.A. Bryant, M.M. Bateson, L. Lammerts, S. Schouten, J. S. Sinninghe Damst�©, M.T. Madigan and D.M. Ward. "Cultivation and genomic, nutritional and lipid biomarker characterization of Roseiflexus strains closely related to predominant in situ populations inhabiting Yellowstone hot spring microbial mats." J. Bacteriol., v.192, 2010, p.3033.

van der Meer M.T.J., C.G. Klatt, J. Wood, D.A. Bryant, M.M. Bateson, L. Lammerts, S. Schouten, J. S. Sinninghe Damsté, M.T. Madigan and D.M. Ward. "Cultivation and genomic, nutritional and lipid biomarker characterization of Roseiflexus strains closely related to predominant in situ populations inhabiting Yellowstone hot spring microbial mats." J. Bacteriol., v.192, 2010, p.3033.

Perry, E. B., A. Koeppel, D. Krizanc, A. P. Rooney, J. Sikorski, E. Nevo, and F. M. Cohan. "Identifying the fundamental units of diversity among Bacillus isolates from Evolution Canyon III. Israel" Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution, v.52, 2007, p..

Cohan, F. M. "The origins of ecological diversity in prokaryotes" Current Biology, v.18, 2008, p.R1.

Bryant, D.A., A.M. Garcia Costas, J.A. Maresca, A. Gomez, M. Chew, C.G. Klatt, M. M. Bateson, L.J. Tallon, J. Hostetler, W.C. Nelson, J. F. Heidelberg and D.M. Ward. "Candidatus Chloracidobacterium thermophilum: an aerobic phototrophic acidobacterium." Science, v.317, 2007, p.523.

Klatt, C. G., J. Wood, Rusch, D., M.M. Bateson, N. Hamamura, J.F. Heidelberg, A.R. Grossman, D. Bhaya, F.M. Cohan, M. K�?�¼hl, D.A. Bryant, D. A. and Ward, D. M.. "Community ecology of hot spring cyanobacterial mats: predominant populations and their functional potential." ISME J, v.5, 2011, p.126.

Adams MM, Grossman A.R., Bhaya D. "Phosphate starvation and the use of phosphonates by the hot spring cyanobacteria." J Bacteriology, v.190, 2008, p.8171. doi:10.1128/JB.01011-08 

Klatt, C.G., D.A. Bryant and D.M. Ward. "Comparative genomics provides evidence for the 3-hydroxypropionate autotrophic pathway in filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria and in hot spring microbial mats." Environmental Microbiology, v.9, 2007, p.2067. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01323.x 

Klatt, C.G., D.A. Bryant and D.M. Ward. "Comparative genomics provides evidence for the 3-hydroxypropionate autotrophic pathway in filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria and in hot spring microbial mats." Environmental Microbiology, v.9, 2007, p.2067. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01323.x 

Ward, D.M., M.M. Bateson, M.J. Ferris, M. Kühl, A. Wieland, A. Koeppel and F.M. Cohan. "Cyanobacterial ecotypes in the microbial mat community of Mushroom Spring (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming) as species-like units linking microbial community composition, structure and function." Phil. Trans. Royal Soc., London (Ser. B), v.361, 2006, p.1997.

Ward, D.M., M.M. Bateson, M.J. Ferris, M. Kühl, A. Wieland, A. Koeppel and F.M. Cohan. "Cyanobacterial ecotypes in the microbial mat community of Mushroom Spring (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming) as species-like units linking microbial community composition, structure and function." Phil. Trans. Royal Soc., London (Ser. B), v.361, 2006, p.1997.

Gevers, D., F.M. Cohan, J.G. Lawrence, B.G. Spratt, T. Coenye, E.J. Feil, E. Stackebrandt, Y. Van der Peer, P. Vandamme, F.L. Thompson and J. Swings. "Reevaluating prokaryotic species" Nature Reviews Microbiology, v.3, 2005, p.733.

Ward, D.M. "Microbial diversity in natural environments: focusing on fundamental questions" Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, v.90, 2006, p.309.

Cohan, F. M. "Synthetic biology: Now that weâ??re creators, what should we create?" Current Biology, v.20, 2010, p.R675.

Kilian O, Steunou A-S., Grossman A.R., Bhaya D. "A novel two domain-fusion protein in cyanobacteria with similarity to the CAB/ELIP/HLIP superfamily: Evolutionary implications and regulation" Molecular Plant, v.1, 2008, p.155.

Liu, Z., Klatt, C. G., Wood, J., D.B. Rusch, M. Ludwig, Wittekindt, N., Tomsho, L., Schuster, S. C., Ward, D. M., and Bryant, D. A. "Metatranscriptomic analyses of chlorophototrophs of a hot spring microbial mat" ISME J., v.5, 2011, p.1279.

Jensen, S.I., A.-S. Steunou, D. Bhaya, M. Kühl and A.R. Grossman "In situ dynamics of O2, pH and cyanobacterial transcripts associated with CCM, photosynthesis and detoxification of ROS" ISME Journal, v., 2010, p.. doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.131 

Jensen, S.I., A.-S. Steunou, D. Bhaya, M. KÃ??Ã?¼hl and A.R. Grossman "In situ dynamics of O2, pH and cyanobacterial transcripts associated with CCM, photosynthesis and detoxification of ROS" ISME Journal, v.5, 2011, p.3. doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.131 

Ward, D.M., F.M. Cohan, D. Bhaya, J.F. Heidelberg, M. Kühl and A. Grossman "Genomics, environmental genomics and the issue of microbial species." Nature Heredity, v.100, 2007, p.207.

Ward, D.M., F.M. Cohan, D. Bhaya, J.F. Heidelberg, M. Kühl and A. Grossman "Genomics, environmental genomics and the issue of microbial species." Nature Heredity, v.100, 2007, p.207.

Ward, D.M., F.M. Cohan, D. Bhaya, J.F. Heidelberg, M. K�¼hl and A. Grossman "Genomics, environmental genomics and the issue of microbial species." Nature Heredity, v.100, 2007, p.207.

Kilian O, Steunou AS, Fazeli F, Bailey S, Bhaya D, Grossman AR. "Responses of a thermophilic Synechococcus isolate from the microbial mat of Octopus Spring to light." Appl Environ Microbiol., v.73, 2007, p.4268.

Kilian O, Steunou AS, Fazeli F, Bailey S, Bhaya D, Grossman AR. "Responses of a thermophilic Synechococcus isolate from the microbial mat of Octopus Spring to light." Appl Environ Microbiol., v.73, 2007, p.4268.

Cohan, F.M. "Toward a conceptual and operational union of bacterial systematics, ecology, and evolution." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, v.36, 2006, p.1985.

Cohan, F.M. "Toward a conceptual and operational union of bacterial systematics, ecology, and evolution." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, v.36, 2006, p.1985.

Connor, N., J. Sikorski, A.P. Rooney, A. Burger, S.G. Cole, E.B. Perry, D. Krizanc, N.C. Field, M. Slaton, S. Kopac, A.F. Koeppel, W.G. Cohan and F.M. Cohan "The ecology of speciation in Bacillus" Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v.76, 2010, p.1349.

Bhaya, D., A.R. Grossman, A.-S. Steunou, N. Khuri, F.M. Cohan, N.Hamamura, M.C. Melendrez, W. Nelson, M.M. Bateson, D.M. Ward and John F. Heidelberg. "Population level functional diversity in a microbial community revealed by comparative genomic and metagenomic analyses." Nature ISME, v.1, 2007, p.703.

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