Title: On high-throughput cultivation of coastal bacterioplankton: learning from the microbes
Abstract: Marine microbiology relies on axenic cultures for a variety of data, including validation of ‘omics-based predictions of metabolic capacity, taxon-specific information on growth rates and efficiencies, and experimental inquiry of interactions among cells. Unfortunately, cultivation of abundant bacterioplankton remains challenging, and many key marine microorganisms remain uncultivated. High-throughput, dilution to extinction cultivation (HTC) was developed to overcome problems with “traditional” cultivation methods and has proven successful for isolation of a number of important taxa, including SAR11. We conducted a sustained HTC campaign from coastal sites using artificial seawater media to improve the diversity of taxa available for research. In addition, we paired these experiments with cultivation-independent assessments of the source water microbial communities using 16S rRNA gene amplicons to provide quantitative information about the relative efficacy of HTC in isolating different taxa. This talk will discuss our paired cultivation and cultivation-independent approach, our results from three years of isolation efforts, and what we’ve learned about HTC effectiveness by comparing our data with an HTC model. It will also touch on some of our recent findings concerning the biology of abundant bacterioplankton species garnered from new isolates.