Recently I attended the American Society for Microbiology's 3rd Conference on Beneficial Microbes, which was held in Miami, FL. It was great to meet so many people using techniques similar to the ones that I am using for my research into the bacteria of the lichen microbiome. I was especially excited to go to the session entitled 'Ecology and evolution of microbial communities' since this is one of the major topics that interests me. There were talks by some of the stars of microbial community ecology (e.g., Dr. Rob Knight and Dr. Ruth Ley) and other great talks as well. There were certainly other sessions with interesting talks, too, including one by Dr. Giles Oldroyd on 'Reprogramming Plant Cells for Endosymbiosis.'
Here is a short description of the conference:
"Biologists are becoming increasingly aware that animals and plants have coevolved with diverse assemblages of microorganisms that are required for normal health and development. Not surprisingly, the activity of these symbiont communities is also likely to profoundly affect all aspects of the host’s physiology. An understanding of these complex interactions requires contributions from a diverse, multidisciplinary group of researchers, including microbial ecologists and geneticists. The goal of this conference is to bring together a wide array of scientific expertise to foster the development of this rapidly expanding field of biology."
I returned excited to continue my research on the lichen microbiome, and I look forward to speaking again with some of the people that I met!