Submitted to: Proceedings of the Elkhorn Slough Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/16/2007
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: N/A
Technical Abstract: Predator-prey relationships represent important organizational themes in ecology, though few scientists consider the importance of predator-prey relationships among soil microorganisms. Our research focuses on the myxobacteria, predators that inhibit and prey on microorganisms through the production of a wide range of secondary metabolites including lytic enzymes and antibiotics. However, the population structure of these organisms and what they are consuming in the environment remains a mystery. Our long-term goal is to determine “who is out there?” in the various ESNERR habitats and to go one step further and determine “what they are doing there?” We have evaluated predation and inhibition of microorganisms in vitro, and recently developed tools to study myxobacteria populations and the communities they influence in situ. We have designed culture independent methods for detection, quantification and identification of myxobacteria from soil samples and have used these methods in preliminary evaluations of soils from ESNERR. Previously researchers have limited their studies of myxobacteria to the upper layer of soil (top 6 cm). However our data based on quantitative PCR analysis of myxobacteria demonstrates that higher populations are present in soils at much greater depths.