Wild Life of Our Homes Project Publications

Barberán A, Dunn RR, Reich BJ, Pacifici K, Laber EB, Menninger HL, Morton JM, Henley JB, Leff JW, Miller SL and Fierer N. (2015) The ecology of microscopic life in household dust. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 282: 20151139. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1139

Synopsis: Although we spend the majority of our life indoors, we know very little about the microbes living on surfaces in our homes and the factors that determine who lives where. With the help of citizen scientists, we collected dust from the inner and outer doorframes of nearly 1200 households across the continental US. We found that with regards to fungi, what we find in the house largely originates outdoors; differences in fungal communities among houses are largely due to climate and geography. However, with bacteria, it’s a different story. The bacteria collected from indoor samples are more influenced by who lives in your house: dogs, cats, and the ratio of women to men in the household.

NC State Release | CU Boulder Release | YourWildLife.org post

Barberan A, Ladau J, Leff JW, Pollard KS, Menninger HL, Dunn RR, and Fierer N. (2015) Continental-scale distributions of dust-associated bacteria and fungi. PNAS 112(18): 5756–5761.

Synopsis: Using samples collected from outer doorframes, we share the first atlas of airborne bacterial and fungal distributions across the continental United States and identify the factors (like climate and soil characteristics) that shape the geographic distribution of those microbes.

CU Boulder Press Release

Grantham NS, Reich BJ, Pacifici K, Laber EB, Menninger HL, Henley JB Barberán A, Leff JW, Fierer N, and RR Dunn. (2015) Fungi Identify the Geographic Origin of Dust Samples. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0122605. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122605

Synopsis: We developed a statistical model (based on outer doorframe samples) that allows us to tell where a dust sample came from within the continental United States based on the DNA of fungi found in the sample.

NC State Press Release

Dunn RR, Fierer N, Henley JB, Leff JW, Menninger HL (2013). Home Life: Factors Structuring the Bacterial Diversity Found within and between Homes. PloS ONE 8: e64133.

Synopsis: We report on the distinct bacterial communities inhabiting 9 locations in the home, as sampled by citizen scientists in 40 houses in the Raleigh-Durham area. In addition to describing patterns of diversity, we report that homes with dogs harbor more and different kinds of bacteria than those without.

NC State Press Release | YourWildLife.org post