Vesbach Lab's Antarctic virus research featured

Graduate student David Robinson and Co-PI Cristina Takacs-Vesbach's research on Antarctic viruses was recently featured by the University of New Mexico (UNM)'s Center for Advanced Research Computing, and subsequently picked up by the UNM Newsroom and the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network's Science Update. Using supercomputers, they are assembling metagenomic data of benthic microbial mat samples from the McMurdo Dry Valleys to gain a better understanding of how viruses and bacteria interact. Beneath the frigid lakes of Antarctica lie fuzzy layers of undisturbed bacterial growth called “microbial mats.” Robinson explained, “Because these lakes are perennially ice-covered, there’s no mixing in these lakes at all. They’re completely stratified, so they have different layers all the way down. What happens is, because it never mixes, bacteria can accumulate on the bottom of the lakes and around the moats... and they can end up looking like a rainbow shag rug-like carpet almost.”

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