The Earth Microbiome Project: Modeling the Microbial Planet

Saturday, February 18, 2012: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 205-207 (VCC West Building)
The Earth Microbiome Project (EMP) is the most ambitious attempt to provide a systematic characterization of the microbial world that dominates this planet. The ecosystem services provided by microbes in every environment (including the human body) are fundamental to the survival of life on this planet and the continued economic and physical health of the human race. The pilot study of the EMP started in March 2011 and is now reaching its zenith. The quantity of data generated from this first analysis of 10,000 environmental samples has caused the microbial ecological world to redefine how it inteprets, stores, and explores sequence space. The international collaboration required to generate this data bonanza has created a new paradigm in microbial ecology research. In the same way as the physics community came together to use the Large Hadron Collidor, the EMP represents the accumulated need for a directed approach to tackling the biggest black hole in global knowledge: How do microbes keep the planet alive? This symposium provides an overview of the production and analysis of this global research effort, particularly focusing on the role of computational infrastructure and distributed resource networks in the analysis. The combined role of European, Asian, and American resources in generating a unique descriptive and predictive model derived from remote sensing data will drive the discussions at this seminal event.
Jack A. Gilbert, Argonne National Laboratory
Janet Jansson, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory
Folker Meyer, Argonne National Laboratory
Creating Computational Infrastructure to Handle the Data Bonanza
Jonathan Eisen, University of California
Toward a Field Guide to the Microbes
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