There is clear recognition that climate change is impacting all life on Earth, particularly in polar environments. For this project, the team focuses on determining how microbial communities change throughout a complete annual cycle in three climate-sensitive, marine-derived Antarctic lakes (Ace Lake, Organic Lake and Deep Lake), and a near-shore marine site. The project will offer the scientific community and the public insight into the ways in which microbes have adapted to their cold habitats, the genetic make-up and molecular mechanisms that control their growth and survival in Antarctica. Additonally, the team hopes to learn how these microbial communities drive the critical biogeochemical cycles that help to maintain the planet in a habitable state. The data gained will form the underpinnings for evaluating microbial food webs in the cold biosphere, and the effects of climate change on sensitive Antarctic ecosystems.
Proposer’s Name: Rick Cavicchioli, University of New South Wales (Australia)