Royal Society of South Australia lecture feat. Liz Dinsdale

Please join us for our next Royal Society of South Australia lecture. Our next lecture will be given by Prof. Elizabeth Dinsdale (Flinders University) on “Microbiomes of Chondrichthyes: Using basal vertebrates to investigate phylosymbiosis” (Abstract and bio given below).

The Royal Society of South Australia hold monthly meetings with invited speakers covering a range of topics and disciplines. We are currently holding our meetings BOTH online via Zoom AND meeting face-to-face in the society rooms.

Please join us from 6:00 ACST for 6:30 start THURSDAY April 8th (online portion will commence at 6:30pm only).

  • Please note, capacity for in person attendance is strictly limited so you must register via Eventbrite to attend. Members receive priority attendance but non-members also welcome.


  • All current members will receive an invitation via email containing a zoom link to the meeting. If you are not a current member and would like to view the seminar online, please reply to this email with your request prior to the meeting start time. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion after the talk.


Microbiomes are at the nexus of healthy hosts and environments, but the fundamental laws that govern host-associated microbiome assembly remain unresolved. Chondrichthyan fish (sharks, rays and chimaeras) are ancient extant vertebrates providing a pivotal point in host-associated microbiome evolution, displaying a broad geographic distribution, and diverse biophysical and physiological traits. We will capitalize on these unique features, to decouple the contributions to microbiome assembly from the environment vs the host. To date we have collected microbiomes from the epidermis of 12 Chondrichthyan fish, including whale sharks to round rays, at multiple locations around the world. The microbiome are species specific and the similarity of the microbiomes mirrors the phylogeny of the hosts, which is consistent with the phylosymbiosis theory. However, this theory is does not identify the mechanism behind the host- microbe associations, and whether the relationship occurs because of selection from the environment or evolutionary processes. We are linking the microbiome with measures of the physiology of the elasmobranchs to understand drivers of microbiome association and possible co-evolution.


Elizabeth Dinsdale received her Ph.D. from James Cook University in 2005 and became a Faculty at San Diego State University in 2009. She moved to South Australia in 2020 to take up a Professorship at Flinders University. Her research is at the forefront of analysing functional metagenomes which was describe in a Nature paper in 2008 and was part of a team that identified a highly abundant novel phage that infects half of the world’s population described in Nature Communication in 2014. She uses genomics to investigate the biodiversity and ecology of microbes and viruses on coral reefs, kelp forest and shark skin, with the goal of understanding how microbial and viral communities responds to environmental pressures and affects the health of the host and ecosystem. Her lab has developed novel tools, undergraduate education programs, and international workshops to analyse metagenomics data and understand the structure of host microbiomes. With undergraduate students, she has sequenced and annotated the Californian Sea lion genome. She is expanding the description of elasmobranch genomes, including the silky shark and 7 elasmobranch mitochondrial genomes and is using proteomics and metabolomics to link the microbiome with the physiology and distribution of the host.


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