Microbial Diversity and Evolution

The Aylward lab is broadly interested in the ecology and evolution of microbial life. Hallmark discoveries made over the last ~40 years have underscored the importance of microbes to the planet and shown that global biogeochemical cycles are driven by diverse groups of bacteria, archaea, protists, and viruses, most of which lack any cultivated representatives. Novel microbial lineages continue to be discovered using cultivation-independent methods, and currently a major challenge is understanding the ecology and evolution of these groups and their broader impact on the biosphere. Here in the Aylward lab we use computational and experimental approaches to investigate the phylogenetic, genomic, and metabolic diversity of microbes and the factors that shape their distributions and genomic repertoires. Current research in the lab is focused on examining several different groups, from giant viruses to disparate lineages of bacteria and archaea. Check out the Publications page to see recent papers.