In the past decades, the study of microbial life through shotgun metagenomic sequencing has rapidly expanded our understanding of environmental, synthetic, and clinical microbial communities. Here, we review how shotgun metagenomics has affected the field of halophilic microbial ecology, including functional potential reconstruction, virus–host interactions, pathway selection, strain dispersal, and novel genome discoveries. However, there still remain pitfalls and limitations from conventional metagenomic analysis being applied to halophilic microbial communities. Deconvolution of halophilic metagenomes has been difficult due to the high G + C content of these microbiomes and their high intraspecific diversity, which has made both metagenomic assembly and binning a challenge. Halophiles are also underrepresented in public genome databases, which in turn slows progress. With this in mind, this review proposes experimental and analytical strategies to overcome the challenges specific to the halophilic microbiome, from experimental designs to data acquisition and the computational analysis of metagenomic sequences. Finally, we speculate about the potential applications of other next-generation sequencing technologies in halophilic communities. RNA sequencing, long-read technologies, and chromosome conformation assays, not initially intended for microbiomes, are becoming available in the study of microbial communities. Together with recent analytical advancements, these new methods and technologies have the potential to rapidly advance the field of halophile research.
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