This project focuses on the recently discovered ability of microorganisms to metabolize in frozen soil and permafrost at temperatures to below 4oC. This research builds upon previous microbiological studies of psychrophiles in diverse permafrost and Arctic soils across Alaska, Eurasia and Greenland. This project will explore the significance of this subzero microbial activity and its role in polar systems undergoing global climatic change. The overall objective of the work is to understand the impact of these microbial processes on permafrost dynamics. The research will be approached through an interdisciplinary study combining mathematical modeling with experimental studies using molecular biological, environmental, physical and biogeochemical methods. This project will conduct a systematic study of subzero metabolic activities, through laboratory studies using intact frozen cores, on permafrost resistance to thaw and erosion. The long term goal of this work is to understand whether subzero microbial activity plays a critical role in permafrost dynamics. In turn these results should improve the reliability of global change prediction in high latitude environments and should lead to new frontiers in polar research. This project will provide an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to combine microbiology and physics to study permafrost microbial processes and biophysical chemistry in permafrost processes.
|Effective start/end date||1/1/08 → 12/31/11|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))