There is a lot of emphasis these days in my field on figuring out how to best translate our results from gene-based microbial community studies, into predictive mathematical models of (eco)system functions. While still not easy, the new methods we now have on hand for microbial community analyses do finally allow us to collect enough data, on enough replicates, that it is no longer impossible.
Thanks to the work of a talented scientist I got to work with at ORNL named Gouping Tang, I can finally say we (mostly Gouping) have been able to make the leap from our data sets to mathematical models. These two new papers take the data and theoretical model we proposed in a paper led by Tom Gihring in late 2011, and develop full mathematical simulations of our experimental systems. These data are from a large scale field test we worked on with numerous collaborators that demonstrated the use of emulsified vegetable oil to stimulate reducing conditions in a contaminated groundwater system. This is somewhat bittersweet though as due to funding changes, these may be some of the final opportunities our lab will have for work on metal bioreduction in groundwater microbial communities that I have toiled on ever since leaving graduate school and coming to Oak Ridge.
Here are the citations with the links to PDF files.
Tang, G., Wu, W. M., Watson, D. B., Parker, J. C., Schadt, C., Shi, X., & Brooks, S. C. (2013). U (VI) Bioreduction with Emulsified Vegetable Oil as the Electron Donor–Microcosm Tests and Model Development. Environmental Science & Technology. (Tang_EST_MicrocosmModel)
Tang, G., Watson, D. B., Wu, W. M., Schadt, C., Parker, J. C., & Brooks, S. C. (2013). U (VI) Bioreduction with Emulsified Vegetable Oil as the Electron donor–Model Application to a Field Test. Environmental Science & Technology. (Tang_EST_FieldModel)