Jane Fudyma

UC Davis

“Leveraging spatially resolved multi-omics to identify patterns and drivers of grassland soil viral community composition and function”

Recent research has unveiled a diverse array of viruses in soil, sparking curiosity about their roles and interactions with other microbes. However, we’ve noticed significant differences in soil viral communities across short distances, making it tricky to explore their impact on ecosystem functions, especially since the microbial hosts they infect do not show the same spatial patterns. We suspect these differences might stem from how we measure these communities. For instance, while viromics likely captures recent viral activity due to the short residence time of viral particles, total DNA measurements used to study the host populations presumably provides insight to a broader timescale, including active, dead, and dormant microbes. To better understand virus-host dynamics and their effects on biogeochemical cycling, we used a suite of techniques to measure viruses, total and active hosts, and their related metabolic processes in two California grasslands. This study lays the groundwork for being able to effectively link viruses to their hosts and understand viral controls on microbial biogeochemical processes.


A virus needs a host to persist, and in soil, it is thought that viruses control biogeochemical cycles through the microbial hosts they infect. However, viruses and their hosts display different patterns across horizontal space, making it difficult to explore virus-host dynamics and understand how viruses control soil processes. My research interrogates the methods behind measuring viruses and microbial hosts in soils and investigates the factors that control virus and host habitation in soil.

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