A tale of kelp, Antarctica and bioinformatics

Bioinformatics and computational biology are crucial parts of biology and medical research. Being able to handle, understand and work with biological data is incredibly important for researchers but not always easy. This is why the ANU Bioinformatics Consultancy (ABC) was created in 2015. ABC’s experts help researchers at ANU (but not only!) to get the most out of their data. An exciting mission that can lead to rather unexpected and very rewarding collaborations!

Our very own Cameron Jack, leader of the ANU Bioinformatics Consultancy, was recently part of a research project investigating ocean drifts and the future of Antarctic ecosystems. Following the discovery of kelp washed up on the tide of an Antarctic beach, a research team led by ANU investigated kelp drifts and showed that Antarctica is not as isolated as previously thought.

Cameron was the team’s bioinformatics expert and ran the genomic analyses that helped defined the origins and movements of the kelp on its way to Antarctica. Rather an “exotic” topic for someone based in a medical research institute but a great way to prove that bioinformatics is indeed a major part of research. From cancer research to kelp drifts, computer-based biology is everywhere!

The research was published in Nature Climate Change and was chosen as the cover of the August issue of the journal, a great recognition for their work.