PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACTMicrobes rarely live alone. In the ocean, the soil, and the human body, microbes live withincomplex, multi-species communities. Yet, due to complexity of these communities, it is oftenextremely difficult to understand how they work. To address this challenge, my lab has taken theapproach of developing simplified microbial communities as model systems. The goal of ourwork is to understand the basic mechanisms that shape microbial communities and toidentify general principles of community formation. Our previous work has focused onestablishing an experimental framework for building, manipulating, and studying simple,culturable, systems based on communities from fermented foods in the lab. We are now workingto capitalize on this experimental system to identify molecular mechanisms that are responsiblefor the formation of a microbial community, and to better understand what happens when thisprocess goes wrong. We will be drawing on our expertise in genetics, genomics, and microbialinteractions to push forward the field of microbiome research through the use of a simple modelsystem.