Dr Duhita Girish Sant
My pronouns are she/her
My research is mainly focused on understanding evolutionary responses of bacterial communities to changing environments. Our field system comprises tree-hole communities found in temporary pools formed by the roots of beech trees in the University of Oxford’s Wytham Woods field station. During my time in Oxford, I will use a combination of metagenomics and high-throughput phenotypic assays in the laboratory to track responses of constituent species and the whole community to experimental changes in pH. The work will provide new data on the tempo and mode of evolution in bacterial communities in nature and allow us to estimate key parameters that determine evolutionary rates such as generation times, effective population size, and the frequency of positive selection – currently unknown in wild bacteria. The results will help us to develop new general understanding that can be applied to other microbial communities.