Computational Analysis of Microbial Community Datasets
Microbial communities are an important cornerstone of all ecosystems. By studying their interactions and the way they respond to environmental changes we can better understand which factors contribute to the ability of the community to function. Previous experiments were conducted to gather data on how microbial community composition changes over time of a nutrient perturbation. After collecting this data, the microbial community composition was determined by sequencing of the 16SsrDNA gene. Being able to analyze these datasets of community composition, is where we are able to gain the most understanding of the significance of the community. There are main ways to look at these communities but the main three are the statistical approach, network analysis, and linear systems modeling. Each of these provides a different lens to look at datasets which can be used to give context to the various trends in the data. Being able to understand how to use each of these methods and determine which is the most useful for any given dataset is an important part of this research.