The Australian Microbiome (AM) initiative is a collaborative network of researchers providing publically available data characterizing Australia’s environmental microbial diversity. The AM produces both amplicon sequences (bacteria, archaea, eukaryote and fungal targets) and shotgun metagenomes, primarily from soil and marine environments. Currently, terrestrially derived data in the AM comprises several thousand samples covering a large part of the observable environmental gradient. Every sample is accompanied by rich sample specific metadata describing its physical and chemical composition, as well as its geolocation and regional descriptors. Methods used to collect samples, perform wet lab analyses and downstream bio-informatic analyses are standardised. Sequence and sample specific metadata is available via the AM data portal (https://data.bioplatforms.com/organization/about/australian-microbiome ), as both raw sequences data and curated sequence abundance tables, sequence data is also submitted to international nucleotide archives. Data produced by the AM is also available for direct export to and analysis by the Galaxy Australia server.
AM data has been able to provide insights into the drivers of soil microbial community composition and turnover, the role of climate in shaping Australia’s microbial diversity, the effects of various land-uses and perturbation levels on microbial communities, the role of microbial communities in successful land regeneration and the description of novel diversity within Australian soils.