Update: The EMP is NOT accepting new samples at this time.

Due to the immense interest in the EMP, many people, companies and funding agencies are asking how they can contribute. There are a number of different pathways to get involved right now.

1. If you have funding for sequencing your samples already but would like to take advantage of EMP protocols and the sample database, please contact the steering committee at emp-steering@earthmicrobiome.org. We will be happy to discuss with you details of the protocols, how to register your samples in Global Environmental Sample Database (GESD) (including assistance with sample registration), and whether data analysis will take place on a collaboration basis or whether you would just like to release the data through the EMP but perform the analysis yourself. Many different interaction models are successful. This pathway benefits you by allowing you to integrate your samples directly with tens of thousands of other samples and potentially by providing analytical assistance, and benefits the EMP by expanding the dataset available for analysis with samples that we could otherwise not afford to process.

2. The EMP will fund certain projects that contribute meaningfully to our mission. If you have an interesting set of samples, please email submissions@earthmicrobiome.org and provide the following two documents:

(i) A single page description of your project with hypotheses that can be tested with 16S amplicon data generated by the EMP. It is important your hypotheses are clearly stated and can be tested using the amplicon data generated. If you wish to explore the potential to have 18S or ITS rRNA amplicon sequencing done please add this request and appropriate hypotheses. Importantly, please include the number of samples being submitted, and if you are submitting DNA please state that you have extracted the DNA using the EMP standard protocols as listed on this website.

(ii) A spreadsheet containing the contextual data for every sample, including but not limited to the latitude and longitude of where the samples were collected or generated from, the date and time, host information if relevant, physical, edaphic, chemical parameters that describe the ecosystem (including temperature, pH, nutrient concentrations, etc.), and any other parameters that can help to determine the niche for the microbial communities in/on your samples. It is important that we have the actual data, samples will not be considered until they have been collected and metadata has been generated.

These two documents will help the EMP assess the impact of your study, and you will be contacted rapidly regarding this decision.

3. If you have a new computational tool and would like to be listed among the contributors of analytical techniques for the EMP, email the steering committee at emp-steering@earthmicrobiome.org to be listed on the “Computational Tool Contributors” page.

4. If you have suggestions about the laboratory and/or computational methods, please join the discussion on the Protocols Wiki (under construction). If you would like to be listed as a contributor, please email the steering committee at emp-steering@earthmicrobiome.org to be listed on the “Methods Contributors” page (under construction).

5. If you would like to analyze the EMP data, we have great news for you: all the data and metadata can be downloaded and analyzed freely, no strings attached. If you would like to be listed as contributing biological/ecological insight to the project overall or to specific habitats or organisms with which you are familiar, email the steering committee at emp-steering@earthmicrobiome.org to be listed on the “Biological and Ecological Interpreters” page (under construction).

6. If you are from a company, we are willing to provide samples that you can use to demonstrate that your protocols are “EMP-equivalent” or better, and sponsorship for travel and workshops, laboratory and sequencing reagents (either in-kind or financial assistance), etc. is always appreciated. For example, MoBio, Pacific Biosciences, Illumina and Eppendorf have provided extremely helpful in-kind sponsorship at this point, and Luca Technologies and Eppendorf have provided travel sponsorship. The EMP is currently a sink rather than a source of funding, so we are in general unable to cover costs of validating additional protocols, although this will likely change when the full-scale project is funded. Email the steering committee at emp-steering@earthmicrobiome.org for information on levels of sponsorship, benefits at EMP meetings, etc.

7. If you are a funding agency representative or represent an organization or foundation, and are interested in discussing funding opportunities with the Earth Microbiome Project please contact emp-steering@earthmicrobiome.org to start discussions.

We will review contributors periodically to ensure that the pages stay current and reflect who is actively working on the EMP.