Principal Investigator: Kathy Yelick, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Microorganisms are important in climate change, environmental remediation, food production, and human health. The occur naturally as “microbiomes,” cooperative communities of microbes. These communities are made up of hundreds or thousands of microbial species of varying abundance and diversity, each contributing to the function of the whole. Less than one percent of the millions of species of microbes in the world have been isolated and cultivated in the laboratory, and only a small fraction of those have been sequenced. Meanwhile, vast troves of microbial data are growing exponentially, representing an untapped wealth of information that could be used to help remediate environmental problems or to manufacture novel chemicals and medicines.