Microbiology of thawing permafrost

Niveau:Masters, Bachelor

Permafrost covers 20% of the land area in the northern hemisphere and is estimated to contain half of all soil organic matter on our planet. Due to global warming permafrost is thawing over large tracts of the Arctic. Thawing increases the decomposition by microorganisms of the enormous stock of organic material stored in permafrost soil. During the decomposition carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases are released to the atmosphere, potentially increasing global warming.

Potential topics:

  • The links between CO2 production in permafrost samples and the communities of fungi and bacteria
  • Microorganisms in a changing world: How soil bacteria and fungi react to global change experiments in the field
  • Nitrogen fixation in the Arctic
  • Biogeography of soil bacteria and fungi in the Arctic
  • Microbiology at landscape scale – extending plot scale measurements to landscape scale

This list is by no means exhaustive. Many other projects involving activity or diversity of microorganisms in the Arctic are possible.

The projects typically combine molecular tools, e.g. quantitative PCR approaches, sequencing of DNA and/or cDNA and enzyme assays, with analyses of soil and other environmental parameters. If relevant for the project, field work in Greenland is a possibility.

The work will be done within Center for Permafrost, CENPERM, a Center of Excellence financed by the Danish National Research Foundation. You can find more information about CENPERM at www.CENPERM.ku.dk.

Keywords:Microbial communities, permafrost, greenhouse gases, ecology, microbial physiology
Projekthjemmeside: http://www.cenperm.ku.dk
Vejleder(e): Anders Priemé