Environmental Metagenomics

Environmental metagenomics is the study of genetic material taken directly from the environment. New genetic technologies have enabled analyses of the diversity of species and their physiological states in the natural world, rather than in controlled laboratory conditions. These environmental metagenomic technologies allow a range of biological questions to be addressed that were previously impossible to study. Environmental metagenomics allows molecular ecologists to study the diet of wild animals; characterise the identity and diversity of microorganisms, parasites or soft animals that are generally not otherwise recognisable; and to measure sex, age, reproductive status and characterise a range of physiological conditions.

InBIO, Research Network in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, is the most recent Portuguese Associate Laboratory and results from a collaborative partnership between CIBIO, Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, and CEABN, Centre for Applied Ecology Baeta Neves. InBIO is committed to conduct top level and applied research in the fields of evolutionary biology, biodiversity and conservation.

The EnvMetaGen project aims to strengthen the research and innovation potential of InBIO – Research Network in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, through the creation of an ERA Chair in Environmental Metagenomics.
This project intents to expand the research potential of human resources, lab facilities and next-generation genome sequencing equipment funded by a FP7 CAPACITIES project (CIBIO new-gen), while supporting an emerging research line in environmental metagenomics for applications in biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services assessment, invasive species control and environmental (bio)monitoring.
The project will contribute to the regional and national smart specialization strategies by strengthening innovation and knowledge transfer activities in close collaboration with local and global industrial partners, as well as with governmental agencies. Moreover, the project will contribute to the advanced training of highly-qualified human resources, and to the communication, dissemination and exploitation of InBIO’s research and innovation.
Hence, EnvMetaGen will boost the capacity of InBIO to tackle societal challenges related to the loss of biodiversity, degradation of ecosystem services and sustainable development, at regional, national and international levels.