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Media Advisory


NSF PA/M 02-41 - September 19, 2002

NSF Invites Science Journalists to Workshop Exploring Microbial Life on Earth

Science journalists are invited to attend a Principal Investigator's Workshop for researchers exploring the diversity of microbial life on Earth at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va., Sept. 23-24.

The workshop will start each day at 8:30 a.m. Dr. Mary Ann Moran of the University of Georgia and Dr. Sherry Cady of Portland State University organized the workshop for researchers funded through the National Science Foundation Microbial Observatory and Life in Extreme Environments Programs.

Attending the workshop sessions will be scientists discovering and characterizing new forms of microbial life from a variety of natural environments that range from the extreme and unusual - such as hydrothermal vents, hypersaline lakes and the guts of insects - to the familiar, like coastal ocean waters and agricultural soils.

Their discovery toolkits include using genome sequencing on complex environmental samples, and "gene chips" to study novel microbial communities and their properties.

A two-hour poster session will start at 3:45 p.m. Monday and will profile the Microbial Observatory, the Life in Extreme Environments program, and other NSF microbial biology projects.

Journalists who plan to attend must call Manny Van Pelt, the National Science Foundation's biosciences public affairs officer, at (703) 292-8070 before arriving to be included on the access list for a particular day's workshop sessions. A security access pass is required.

Attached is the schedule of the workshop sessions.



Microbial Observatory and Life in Extreme Environments Programs Workshop


Monday and Tuesday Sept. 23-24, 2002
8:00 a.m.


National Science Foundation, Stafford II Building, 5th Floor
4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. (Ballston Metro stop)

For more information contact:
Ronald Weiner, (703) 292-7144/
Matthew Kane, (703) 292-7186/
Gary Toranzos, (703) 292-8442/
Manny Van Pelt, (703) 292-8070/

For directions to NSF, see:

Attachment: Workshop Schedule



Workshop Schedule
National Science Foundation
Microbial Observatory Program and Life in Extreme Environments Programs

Monday, Sept. 23

7:30 a.m

Pick up National Science Foundation Security ID at the Main National Science Foundation Desk in Stafford I. Security pass is required for access to the 5th floor of Stafford II.

8:00 - 8:30 a.m

Set up Posters - National Science Foundation Bldg - Stafford II, 5th Floor

8:30 - 8:45 a.m.

Welcome (Cady, Moran, National Science Foundation)

8:45 - 10:30 a.m.

Session I: New Applications of Molecular Tools (environmental genomics; microarrays in microbial ecology; mRNAs as functional indicators)

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Session II: Novel Culturing Approaches (high-throughput; geochemical constraints on media; gleaning strategies from environmental microarrays)

12:30 - 1:45 p.m.

Hosted Lunch at National Science Foundation (Workshop participants only)

1:45 - 2:00 p.m.

Organize Ecotype Discussion Groups for evening session

2:00 - 3:45 p.m.

Session III: New Applications of Molecular Tools (ecosystem characterization and constraints; biofilm composition; quorum sensing; metabolic activity in situ; molecular and structural tags; functional molecules in addition to genes)

3:45 - 5:45 p.m.

Poster Session: MO, LExEn, BSI, Microbial Biology project profiles

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Hosted Dinner (Workshop participants only)

7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Session IV: Ecotype Breakout Groups at Hilton Arlington & Towers

  • Planktonic marine
  • Shallow marine
  • Freshwater lakes, streams, groundwater
  • Hydrothermal freshwater/marine
  • Soils and freshwater sediments
  • Hypersaline

Tuesday, Sept. 24
National Science Foundation - Stafford II, 5th Floor

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Summary Presentations of Ecotype Groups

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Session V: National Science Foundation Programs (adequacy of existing programs/need for new funding opportunities)

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Hosted Lunch at National Science Foundation (Workshop participants only)

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Session VI: The Environmental Sequence Database (taxonomic and functional genes; linking sequences to ecosystem parameters; centralized vs. standardized approaches)

2:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Coffee Break - Early Departure

2:45 - 3:15 p.m.

Session VII: National Science Foundation MO/LExEn Workshop Publication (scientific impact of MO/LExEn programs; recommendations for future directions)



National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: 703-292-8070
FIRS: 800-877-8339 | TDD: 703-292-5090

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