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Berkeley Lab


All life on our planet depends upon the activities of microbes, Earth’s most numerous life forms. Every ecosystem within Earth’s biosphere is dependent upon microbes and the vast communal networks they form. Understanding the biology of microbes and how microbial communities impact the ecosystems that host them is vital to our own sustainability.

ENIGMA’s mission is to support the development of laboratory and computational tools that link the molecular functions within individual microbes to the integrated activities of microbial communities as they interact with their environment.

This “discovery” framework is designed to predict the key factors that enable microorganisms to survive, compete, and cooperate in ecosystems that are relevant to DOE missions of environmental remediation, carbon sequestration, and bioenergy production. This knowledge is then assimilated into a predictive network model of the larger schema of interacting microbial communities and ecosystems for the purpose of advancing environmental microbes to model-organism status.

This work conducted by ENIGMA- Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies (, a Scientific Focus Area Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was supported by the Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, of the U. S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231