Health and low energy buildings

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) held a conference last week on the topic “Environmental Health in Low Energy Buildings.” Although you wouldn’t necessarily guess it from the name, the society is a lively, welcoming group of folks from all over the world interested in improving the built environment. At this …

How biomass can bias high-throughput surveys of microbial communities

Puffballs are a type of fungus that is aptly named. You can ‘puff’ their ball-shaped fruiting bodies, and so many spores come out (a large one can contain 7 million), they make a visible cloud. This ostentatious and satisfying practice makes puffballs a popular choice for novice mushroom hunters tasked with bringing in specimens for …

Size matters, or what I learned from collaborating with environmental engineers

The Sloan Foundation recently convened grantees for the 2nd Conference on the Microbiology of the Built Environment, and the opening talk focused on the benefits of collaboration. Carlos Rodriguez reminded us (I’m paraphrasing), “When you look at problems in silos, you find solutions in silos. But when you look at problems across disciplines, you find …

Video Conference on Air Sampling Methods[Updated with notes]

Some of us doing bioaerosol sampling had a video conference to discuss methods in the field. The goal was to swap experiences, considerations, and ideas as the field moves forward. It was a great conversation among researchers from Berkeley, Oregon, Cornell, and Univ. of Texas. Summarized notes are in the works and will be uploaded …

Put a microbe on it: “The Great Indoors” session at the Ecological Society of America’s annual meeting

“Indoors” appeared as a session title for the first time at the annual meeting of the Ecology Society of America after Brendan Bohannan of the BioBE Center at the University of Oregon and Tom Bruns of BIMERC at the University of California organized a session entitled “The Great Indoors: Recent Advances in the Ecology of …