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Life in the marine realm - counting microbes... and what else?

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hess (University of Freiburg, Genetics and Experimental Bioinformatics )

Lunch Lecture am 18.1.2018

For a long time, major fields within the life sciences used to be driven by curiosity and the qualitative analysis of species and organisms, their development, adaptation to changing conditions and interplay among each other. Nevertheless, statistical and quantitative approaches already have been existing for a long time, for instance in the analysis of predator-prey interactions, in ecology, and not least, in population genetics. Only within the last 15 years life sciences have been truly revolutionized by technological advances that turn most biological disciplines into a data-driven or data-rich field of research. Especially, the broad introduction of DNA sequencing technologies now allow the genetic analysis of whole ecosystems including the analysis of the activities of different groups of organisms, from populations down to the individual cell and even subcellular level. The first such survey was the metagenomic analysis of marine plankton from environmental samples obtained off the Bermuda Islands. This development has been crucial for big multi-national efforts such as the Census of Marine Life, or projects studying the human microbiome at unprecedented resolution. Using examples from our own work in the Caribbean, the Red Sea and the Southwest Pacific, the interplay between quantitative and qualitative approaches in the modern life sciences will be illustrated.

Power Point Presentation