18:30 – Arrival and Catch-ups
19:00 – NatureMetrics - Environmental Monitoring
While genomic bioinformatics is well-established as a tool in the medical world, it is also disrupting the murkier world of environmental monitoring.
Skilled experts have been peering down microscopes and dissecting insect genitalia for hundreds of years, but their skills are dying out at the same time as the need for large-scale monitoring of biological communities is growing: invasive species cause ecological and economic devastation; the distributions of pests and disease vectors are shifting with climate change; pollinators are showing alarming declines; and human industry is placing unprecedented pressure on natural systems, driving global biodiversity declines.
NGS methods enable monitoring of species diversity at unprecedented scales – whole communities of invertebrates and plants can be homogenised and sequenced in a single reaction, water can be sequenced to survey fish, and mosquitoes & leeches become super-efficient survey tools for the mammals they’ve fed on. But accurate ecological data is highly dependent on the bioinformatics used to denoising the NGS data, establish the genetic boundaries between species, and match sequences against incomplete reference databases to make identifications.
Prof. Doug Yu is an ecologist who was among the first to apply these methods to biodiversity assessment. He is now at the cutting edge of research in ecological genomics and co-founder of DNA-based biomonitoring startup NatureMetrics
19:25 - Group Discussion (Opportunity to discuss any bioinformatic challenges you are facing with the group)
19:40 – Upcoming events and wrap up.
19:55 – Social drink in nearby pub