The Ecological Genomics Core is a multiuser facility located in SERC’s Mathias Laboratory. Several of SERC's labs and scientists conduct research here, using DNA to solve some of the environment's most pressing issues and mysteries: conserving endangered plants, combating invasive species, exploring parasite ecology and understanding microbial functioning in coastal ecosystems. The Ecological Genomics Core is part of the wider Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics. This network connects Smithsonian researchers and other scientists around the world in using genomics to understand, explore and sustain the diversity of life on Earth.
Multiple independent labs conduct research in this facility. For more information on projects, please contact the appropriate individual listed in the Labs & Contacts tab below for the particular research question of interest.
The Ecological Genomics Core is equipped for many modern molecular analyses, including robotic DNA isolation, PCR, gel electrophoresis, cloning, quantitative PCR, DNA shearing, and the equipment needed for library preparation for high throughput sequencing. The laboratory facility has dedicated spaces for RNA, pre-PCR, and post-PCR molecular work along with two sterile workspaces. Some key pieces of equipment include:
- DNA and RNA Isolation: Qiagen BioSprint, Qiagen TissueLyser (x2)
- Thermocyclers: 2 ABI Veriti (96 well), 1 BioRad C1000, 3 BioRad S1000 (96 & 384)
- Quantitative PCR: ABI ViiA7
- DNA Shearing: Covaris M220 focused ultrasonicator
SERC researchers also have access to the Smithsonian’s High Power Computing Cluster (HPCC), called Hydra, which has nodes with up to 1TB of RAM, a total of 80 compute nodes and approximately 3,000 CPUs.
- Comparative and functional genomics of orchid mycorrhizal fungi
- Ecology of endobacteria in orchid mycorrhizal fungi
- Selection of Phragmites australis and Spartina alterniflora genotypes in changing environments (collaboration with Biogeochemistry Lab)
- Comparative genomics of parasitic protists
- Global connectivity and human-aided disperal of marine organisms
- Diversity, distribution and host specificity of marine parasites
- Distribution, abundance, and functioning of mercury-methylating bacteria
- Role of anthropogenic activities in redistributing mercury-methylating bacteria