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Exploring diversity, ecology and metabolic potential of archaeal communities from Brazilian soda lakes

Grant number: 21/13165-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): March 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Tsai Siu Mui
Grantee:Yara Barros Feitosa
Supervisor: Robert Hanner
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Guelph, Canada  
Associated to the scholarship:19/09243-0 - Functional diversity of archaea in Brazilian Pantanal soda lakes and their role in nutrient cycling, BP.DR


Wetlands are home to a great biodiversity, but these areas are also sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland and comprises about 600 soda lakes, extreme environments that provide a unique habitat for haloalkaliphilic microorganisms. Limited data are available about the microbial diversity of these lakes, especially information regarding to archaeal groups, which play crucial roles in global biogeochemical cycles and influence methane and nitrous oxide emissions. This internship proposal is part of our doctoral plan at CENA-USP (FAPESP project 2019/09243-0), under the supervision of Prof. Tsai Siu Mui, focused on the characterization of the taxonomic and functional composition of archaeal communities in these ecosystems. Water, sediment and soil samples were collected from six distinct soda lakes located in the Nhecolandia sub-region of Brazilian Pantanal biome, during dry and wet seasons. A multidimensional study is being conducted, including physicochemical analysis, measurement of greenhouse gas fluxes, and microbial analyses from metagenomic and 16S amplicon sequencing data. Since these analyses require a multidisciplinary approach, this internship proposal in the Department of Integrative Biology - University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) is based on the extensive experience of Prof. Robert Hanner and Prof. Kari Dunfield with molecular biodiversity and environmental research, involving everything from fieldwork methodologies, bioinformatics and microbial community traits. We are proposing to conduct a new study with the Canadian research group, in addition to perform more robust analyzes to better explore data from other studies in progress. This collaboration will contribute to a deeper understanding of the ecological role and metabolic processes carried out by archaea in Brazilian soda lakes, in addition to fortify the cooperation between our laboratories in Brazil and Canada. (AU)

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