In soil microbiomes, bacteria and fungi are the dominant players with key roles in carbon flux, nutrient cycling, and plant productivity. To harness the biotechnological potential of soil microbiomes at the scale of steering ecosystem functioning, this LANL SFA program in Soil Microbiome Research aims to discover fundamental principles underlying Bacterial:Fungal Interactions. The ten-year program vision for the SFA is to gain a predictive understanding of complex bacterial:fungal interactions in the context of continued environmental change, to allow intentional steering of ecosystem functions for improved crop production for sustainable energy generation, and improved Earth system change via modulation of carbon sequestration in soils.
In the SFA, novel bioinformatics algorithms will be used in conjunction with DOE advanced scientific computing capabilities, coupled with targeted metagenomics to identify previously uncharacterized bacterial:fungal associations. The scope of the SFA is to determine the range of bacterial:fungal interactions in the context of abiotic environmental change (i.e. moisture, nutrient availability, temperature), and characterize the underlying mechanisms of these interactions at the cell-cell and molecular scales using multi-omics interrogation coupled with advanced in situ imaging techniques. Through these studies, the researchers will gain a predictive understanding of the dynamic bacterial:fungal interactions and how they may be regulated to steer the function of soil ecosystems.