Notes from the JGI 2019 User Meeting
The Arctic peatlands are among the northern ecosystems that collectively store up to half of the planet’s soil carbon. With the frozen peatlands thawing, said Virginia Rich of The Ohio State University, “if we project this out, permafrost is virtually eliminated by the end of the century.”
Just how much methane will be released from the frozen soils is still undetermined, and the underlying reason why Rich and her team are studying Stordalen Mire peatlands in Sweden, just north of the Arctic Circle. With Scott Saleska at the University of Arizona, Rich is a co-founder of IsoGenie, a Department of Energy-funded interdisciplinary project that currently involves 13 principal investigators across eight institutions. One of the overarching questions they seek to answer is whether a more explicit representation of the microbes helps improve ecosystem and climate models.
Through IsoGenie, Rich and Saleska have also partnered with JGI and EMSL through the “Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science” (FICUS) program to study the microbial ecology at Stordalen Mire. Rich also touched on a 2018 Nature paper that used metagenomics to uncover more than 1,500 novel microbial genome lineages, several of which release methane, from Stordalen Mire.
Watch Virginia Rich’s talk from JGI’s 2019 Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting at http://bit.ly/JGI2019Rich. Learn more about the latest JGI Annual Meeting by downloading a copy here of the JGI Primer – Spring 2019 edition.
- Virginia Rich’s FICUS proposal: “Systems-level Insights into Carbon Transformations in Thawing Permafrost by Parallel High-resolution Organic Matter and Microbial Community Characterizations“
- Scott Saleska’s FICUS proposal: “Investigating the carbon cycling implications of changing microbial leaf litter decomposition across a permafrost thaw gradient“