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Sequencing our way to more accurate community abundance
  • Georgina Brennan
Georgina Brennan
Institute of Marine Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Over the last two decades, there has been a huge increase in our understanding of microbial diversity, structure and composition enabled by high throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies. Yet, it is unclear how the number of sequences translates to the number of cells or species within the community. Additional observational data may be required to ensure relative abundance patterns from sequence reads are biologically meaningful or presence absence data may be used instead of abundance. The goal is to obtain robust community abundance data, simultaneously, from environmental samples. In this issue of Molecular Ecology Resources, Karlusich et al., (2022) describe a new method for quantifying phytoplankton cell abundance. Using Tara Oceans datasets, the authors propose the photosynthetic gene psbO for reporting accurate relative abundance of the entire phytoplankton community from metagenomic data. The authors demonstrate improved correlations with traditional optical methods including microscopy and flow cytometry, improving upon current molecular identification typically using rRNA markers genes. Furthermore, to facilitate application of their approach, the authors curated a psbO gene database for accessible taxonomic queries. This is an important step towards improving species abundance estimates from molecular data and eventually reporting of absolute species abundance, enhancing our understanding of community dynamics.
12 Aug 2022Submitted to Molecular Ecology Resources
23 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
23 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
23 Aug 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Sep 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Sep 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
16 Sep 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Sep 20221st Revision Received
29 Sep 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Jan 2023Published in Molecular Ecology Resources volume 23 issue 1 on pages 13-15. 10.1111/1755-0998.13717