News & Events
Diel cycle of the tropical air microbiome
Speaker(s): Dr Elena Gusareva, Research Fellow, SCELSE
When: 30 August 2017 (3:00 - 4:00pm)
Where: SCELSE, B3 Meeting Room 2
Type: Seminars


Our understanding of airborne microbial communities – including their sources, functions, microbial interplay and ecology – is limited despite its relevance for human health, and environmental and ecosystems functioning. To comprehensively describe the airborne microbial ecosystem of tropical latitudes, air samples were collected within 24 hours for five consecutive days in five independent experiments performed at a single location in Singapore. Cultivation-free metagenomics next generation sequencing (NGS) was used to identify microbial taxa at the species level. As opposed to bacteria-rich environments such as soil, ocean water or human microbiota, air in the tropics is inhabited predominantly by eukaryotes, specifically by fungi of Basidiomycota and Ascomycota phylum, while bacterial and viral components are remarkably sparse. The airborne microbial community was found to be remarkably stable with recurrence intervals of high biomass in the dark hours and relatively low in the light hours. Richness and evenness of the communities were found to change in response to day/night biorhythms, variation in temperature and CO2, and rain events. This is one of the highest resolution research projects in the world currently undertaken on any air microbiome and its ecology.


Dr Gusareva joined SCELSE (NTU) as a research fellow in the team of Prof. Stephan Schuster in 2016. As a biostatistician, she is involved in several independent research projects, one of which is the “Air microbiome project”. During her scientific career, Dr Gusareva evolved to be a researcher with broad knowledge and experience in different aspects of biomedical science and biostatistics. She completed her higher education (BSc and MSc) in genetics and bioinformatics in Tomsk State University, Russia in 2002. In 2009, she defended her PhD in immunology and molecular biology at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. She did her postdoctoral training in bioinformatics at the University of Liege, Belgium.