Special Issue "Sedimentary Ancient DNA (sedaDNA) Profiling: A Valuable Tool for Environmental Paleomicrobiology Research"

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737). This special issue belongs to the section "Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2023) | Viewed by 154

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Marco Coolen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Western Australia Organic and Isotope Geochemistry Centre, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
Interests: sedimentary ancient DNA; paleomicrobiology; molecular paleoecology; paleobiogeochemical cycling; paleoenvironment; ocean health; Anthropocene
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sequencing analysis of sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) is rapidly increasing in popularity for the reconstruction of past lake and marine plankton communities, including paleoenvironmental indicator taxa that do not leave microscopic or geochemical diagnostic features in the fossil record. Most sedaDNA studies target organisms that, based on their physiological properties, do not survive upon burial in the sedimentary record and, therefore, have been shaped by paleoenvironmental conditions that prevailed at the time of deposition (e.g., pelagic phyto- and zooplankton, catchment vegetation, or farm animals that are indicative of historical agricultural activities).

In contrast, facultative and obligate anaerobic bacteria and archaea can be indigenous to subsurface sediments. Their vertical distribution is mainly shaped by modern in situ environmental parameters such as porosity, as well as the availability of nutrients, electron acceptors, and donors.

However, there is accumulating evidence that a subset of the subsurface microbiome is seeded from the overlying water column or drained into the aquatic environment from terrestrial sources, representing genomic archives of paleoenvironmental conditions and biogeochemical cycling processes that prevailed at the time of deposition. For example, downcore sedimentary 16S rRNA profiling revealed that Holocene sediments of Laguna Potrok Lake (Argentina) reflected a vertical stratification linked to electron acceptors availability, while in late Pleistocene samples up to 50 Ka in age, salinity, organic matter, and the depositional conditions over the last glacial/interglacial cycle were the most important selective pressures.

In addition, shotgun metagenomic studies revealed subseafloor bacteria indicative of denitrification during maxima in oxygen minimum zone expansion in the Arabian Sea. A switch to fermentation likely explained their long-term post-depositional survival. However, to what extent bacteria, archaea (and fungi) in the geobiological record represent dead or dormant vs. metabolically active communities and are useful direct vs. indirect paleoenvironmental indicators requires the further development of robust molecular approaches and bioinformatics tools.

For this Special Issue, we invite you to send contributions related to the study of paleomicrobiomes, with special emphasis on ancient eDNA from microbial (prokaryotic and fungal) communities preserved in aquatic and terrestrial geological records that provide information about the diversity and functioning of the past microbial loop and biogeochemical cycling of elements in the context of paleoenvironmental/climatic changes or more recent anthropogenic perturbations.

We also welcome contributions involving the paleomicrobiology of fossil specimens (e.g., dental remains, coprolites) as proxies for paleoenvironmental conditions that may include temporal changes in diet, health, and the spread of infectious diseases.

Dr. Marco Coolen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • paleomicrobiology
  • sedimentary ancient DNA
  • sedaDNA
  • ancient eDNA
  • paleobiogeochemical cycling
  • paleoenvironment
  • Anthropocene

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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