The abundance of microorganisms in the atmosphere has lead to the hypothesis that airborne cells play significant roles in atmospheric chemistry, the water cycle, and climate. Supporting this idea are several bacterial species known to serve as efficient ice nuclei based on an excreted protein that can initiate ice formation and participate in cloud formation in the atmosphere. However, there are gaps of knowledge regarding the cellular properties of microbial species to perform these tasks. An advanced understanding of these processes will be important for better modeling the hydrological cycle in the atmosphere and the climate. To help fill in these gaps in knowledge, the researchers plan to conduct metagenomic sequencing and analyses of samples collected aboard specialized research aircrafts and which represent different parts of the troposphere above the oceans and continental United States.
Proposer’s Name: Kostas Konstantinidis