Among the terrestrial ecosystems, some are special due to the particular combination of environmental conditions, which results in the evolution of species able to colonize these environments. Mangroves compose a biome made of plants, animals and microorganisms that interact in this environment which has as the main characteristic the interface between the continent and the ocean in intertropical regions. Such location creates unique environmental conditions, especially in relation to salinity, frequent anaerobic conditions and seasonal changes in nutrient availability. In mangrove, bacteria, archaea and fungi constitute 91% of the total biomass; however, little is known about the functionality of microbial groups in mangroves. In this context, this project aims to study using innovative approaches (metatranscriptomics and genomic context analysis) the fuctioning of microbial communities in two mangroves located in the State of São Paulo (already targeted in other studies of our group). The gene expression will be determined by extracting RNA directly from sediment samples and further sequencing using large-scale strategies (Illumina and 454), in order to identify genes expressed by the microbial community in mangroves under different states of preservation. Regarding the analysis of genomic context, the aim is to detect genes related to the carbon (mcrA), nitrogen (hzO, nifD, nifH, nirK, nirS, nosZ) and sulfur (aprA, dsrB) cycling in fosmid-libraries already constructed with the DNA from these mangroves, and further sequencing the inserts (average size 20kB), which will allow the connection between the phylogeny and functionality of the microbial groups in the targeted environment. In sum, information will be obtained on these functional communities in an innovative way, not only describing a gene, but also its expression in the mangroves, and the genomic context that it occurs in the microbial communities present in this ecosystem.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: