• Deep-sea anthropogenic macrodebris harbours rich and diverse communities of bacteria and archaea

      Woodall, LC; Jungblut, AD; Hopkins, K; Hall, A; Robinson, LF; Gwinnett, C; Paterson, GLJ (PLOS, 2018-11-28)
      The deep sea is the largest biome on earth, and microbes dominate in biomass and abundance. Anthropogenic litter is now almost ubiquitous in this biome, and its deposition creates new habitats and environments, including for microbial assemblages. With the ever increasing accumulation of this debris, it is timely to identify and describe the bacterial and archaeal communities that are able to form biofilms on macrodebris in the deep sea. Using 16S rRNA gene high throughput sequencing, we show for the first time the composition of bacteria and archaea on macrodebris collected from the deep sea. Our data suggest differences in the microbial assemblage composition across litter of different materials including metal, rubber, glass, fabric and plastic. These results imply that anthropogenic macrodebris provide diverse habitats for bacterial and archaeal biofilms and each may harbour distinct microbial communities.
    • Does Micro-CT scanning damage DNA in museum specimens?

      Hall, A; Sherlock, E; Sykes, D (Natural Science Collections Association, 2015)
      X-ray micro-computed tomography and DNA sequencing are useful and increasingly common tools in taxonomy and collections research. Whilst the benefits of each method are continually evaluated and debated individually, how the methods impact each other requires more attention. We compared DNA fragment length and the barcode sequence CO1 in samples throughout a CT-scanning protocol, for a range of X-ray exposures and energies. We found no evidence of DNA damage, but advise caution when using precious or archival material, highlighting the need for further investigations and considering potential areas for research.