|Title||Assembly-Driven Community Genomics of a Hypersaline Microbial Ecosystem|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2013|
|Authors||Podell S, Ugalde JA, Narasingarao P, Banfield JF, Heidelberg KB, Allen EE|
|Type of Article||Article|
|Keywords||diversity; environments; haloquadratum-walsbyi; life; maximum-likelihood; prokaryotes; reconstruction; sequences; square archaeon; tree|
Microbial populations inhabiting a natural hypersaline lake ecosystem in Lake Tyrrell, Victoria, Australia, have been characterized using deep metagenomic sampling, iterative de novo assembly, and multidimensional phylogenetic binning. Composite genomes representing habitat-specific microbial populations were reconstructed for eleven different archaea and one bacterium, comprising between 0.6 and 14.1% of the planktonic community. Eight of the eleven archaeal genomes were from microbial species without previously cultured representatives. These new genomes provide habitat-specific reference sequences enabling detailed, lineage-specific compartmentalization of predicted functional capabilities and cellular properties associated with both dominant and less abundant community members, including organisms previously known only by their 16S rRNA sequences. Together, these data provide a comprehensive, culture-independent genomic blueprint for ecosystem-wide analysis of protein functions, population structure, and lifestyles of co-existing, co-evolving microbial groups within the same natural habitat. The "assembly-driven'' community genomic approach demonstrated in this study advances our ability to push beyond single gene investigations, and promotes genome-scale reconstructions as a tangible goal in the quest to define the metabolic, ecological, and evolutionary dynamics that underpin environmental microbial diversity.