Welcome to the Louca lab at the University of Oregon in beautiful Eugene.
Our lab studies the ecology and evolution of Bacteria and Archaea, the most ancient and the most ubiquitous form of life on Earth.
Their metabolism drives biogeochemical fluxes in virtually every ecosystem and has shaped Earth's surface chemistry over billions of years.
In our lab we focus on how these microorganisms interact with their environment through their metabolism to drive biogeochemical fluxes and, reciprocally, how this interaction affects microbial diversity.
Our investigations span from the scales of single ecosystems, such as sediments at the bottom of a lake, all the way to global scales.
A particular effort of our work is to use our insight from modern ecosystems and extant microbial genomes to understand how microbial life evolved at planetary scales over billions of years.
Since the fossil record of microorganisms is rather sparse, we examine their macroevolution by analyzing sequences of modern microbes using phylogenetic and phylogenomic methods.
Philosophically, our work is central to understanding the various layers at which Life has been organized since its very beginning, including individual genes, groups of genes (genomes) and groups of genomes (microbial communities).
Practically, our work helps design more accurate predictive models for natural and engineered ecosystems, such as the ocean, the human gut or biofuel production units.
One of the guiding principles of our lab is a tight integration of experiment and theory.
Hence, in addition to carefully conducted laboratory experiments and field surveys, our work also involves simularions, mathematical analyses and bioinformatics.
Our lab is affiliated with the Department of Biology, the Institute of Ecology and Evolution and Oregon's Data Science Initiative.
Contact details of the lab's principal investigator, Stilianos Louca, are provided here.
Interested prospective students click here.