The advent of metagenomic methods to sequence DNA directly from an environment has revolutionized viral ecology, making it possible to “see” natural viral communities that could not be previously studied through culture. This technological leap has enabled further innovation in: extracting and sequencing limited viral DNA from communities, enriching and sequencing wild viruses through single-cell genomics, and creating new bioinformatics methods for large-scale comparative and functional metagenomics. Yet, the knowledge for specialized techniques in viral ecology remains in a subset of labs. We are developing a viral ecology community forum called VERVE Net to increase connectivity and knowledge dissemination in viral ecology research at all levels from undergraduates to accomplished viral ecologists. VERVE Net will leverage and refine existing software from Protocols.io to enhance a researcher’s ability to: discuss and share protocols, connect with fellow community members (VERVE Net community forum), and learn about new and innovative research in the field. In delivering these valuable tools, VERVE Net will become a central resource to connect, collaborate, share and innovate for the viral ecology community.
This work is funded by the Gordon Betty Moore Foundation grant 4733.