What is a sunburst?

A sunburst diagram uses rings to show hierarchy with a slice through them for category nodes. A sunburst is a good way to look at the composition of your sample with the flexibility to zoom in on taxonomic levels of interest.

Details for a taxonomic sunburst

For our sunburst, each ring corresponds to a taxonomic level, with the central circle representing the highest taxonomic level, such as bacteria, and each taxonomic level below it moving outwards from the circle. The circles are divided based on their hierarchical relationship to the parent slice based on relative abundance. The colors are used to represent the different taxonomic levels. The visualization is dynamic and you can click on different levels to zoom in or out.


  • Collapsing - Click on or off to aggregate calls in divided rings.

Maximum depth

Maximum depth is the number of nodes along the longest path from the root down to the farthest leaf.

Mouse Over

Mouse Over - Hover your mouse over any segment of the sunburst to see details such as the node name, relative abundance, and percentage of the taxonomic levels above the node you are hovering on.

Switching taxonomic levels

Switching taxonomic levels with bar at top - as you switch taxonomic levels with the top bar the lowest (outermost) level of the sunburst will show the taxonomic level chosen.

What’s Next