The Australian Drosophila Ecology and Evolution Resource launches using VicNode storage services

The University of Melbourne’s Hoffmann lab (School of BioSciences) researches how organisms adapt to climate change and changes in response to pollutants. Over the last 3 decades, the lab has collected a large number of Drosophila datasets that are of value to Australian and international researchers in Drosophila evolution, genome dynamics and climate adaptation.

These data include everything from fly cold resistance to gene frequency measurements, typically taken in multiple fly populations spanning the natural gradient of cold to warm environments along the east coast of Australia. They also include species distribution data, which is invaluable for tracking range expansions and contractions related to climate or species invasiveness.

Most recently, the group and their collaborators at Monash and CSIRO have produced genome assemblies for over 20 Australian Drosophila species. The genomes are being used to detect the signature of climate specialists versus generalists, and to compare genetic architecture across species in terms of large-scale processes of DNA decay and duplication of functional gene families. They also form the scaffold for investigations of genes involved in climate stress response and natural population variation, and prediction of future evolutionary adaptation in these species.

The Lab’s application for a VicNode merit allocation of storage was approved by the VicNode Merit Allocation Committee in 2014. Since that time, Hoffmann lab researchers have also been working with the University Library’s eScholarship Research Centre as well as Research Platform Services to publish and preserve of these valuable datasets in a project funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS).

This initiative has resulted in the launch of the Australian Drosophila Ecology and Evolution Resource (ADEER), an open-access resource where >100 of the ecological, genetic and species distribution datasets can be downloaded, browsed and visualised. The published research data sets are all stored using the VicNode Vault (Swift) storage product, which has functionality to enable datasets to be published and made accessible via the web.

The ADEER resource also includes an instance of the UCSC Genome Browser to access the genome data. As part of this project, the lab sourced some contributions from other Australian Drosophila research groups and hopes to continue to make this an Australia-wide resource.