Arctic and boreal environments, the areas most impacted by global climate changes, cover nearly a quarter of the Earth’s surface. As temperatures rise, the carbon trapped in these regions is released, which in turn affects the global carbon cycle. To better understand the changes being wrought, the project calls for sequencing several bacterial strains isolated from northern Finland to study the impact of rising temperatures on the microbial activity in the area, and to identify and monitor the genes in these bacteria that are involved in the global carbon and nitrogen cycles.
Members of the Acidobacteria phylum have been shown to dominate microbial populations in both Arctic and acidic soils, but are rarely cultivated for study in the laboratory. The bacteria thrive in the extreme cold, are more tolerant of multiple freeze-thaw cycles and are more metabolically active than other bacteria at lower temperatures. All of these characteristics make them of interest to researchers who want to understand how lengthened warm periods in the freeze-thaw cycle impact populations in microbial communities.
Principal Investigators: Max Haggblom, Rutgers University
Program: CSP 2010