We are into our final week here at UT Marine Science Institute and are preparing to present our REU projects on Wednesday morning. The past 10 weeks have been an outstanding opportunity for me to experience researching marine microbial ecology.
In regards to my project, I was able to isolate 9 genomes near-complete genomes of marine bacteria that make up microbial communities present in the oil plume and surface oil slicks resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Using concatenated ribosomal proteins, I was able to construct a phylogenetic tree of our organisms. Genes coding for enzymes involved in alkane and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation were identified in our organisms, allowing us to construct proposed complete and near-complete degradation pathways:
I look forward to presenting my research to the UTMSI staff as well as my fellow REU students; this fellowship has allowed me to build numerous personal and professional relationships. Working with Dr. Baker has greatly solidified my interest in studying microbial communities in various environments, and utilizing tools such as metagenomics to unlock the immense diversity of the microbial world.