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Microbes in Thawing Permafrost: The Unknown Variable in the Climate Change Equation

Source:  Dan Hawkes

A team of scientists (including ESD Ecosystems Biology Program Head Janet Jansson) recently addressed how combining information about microbial identity (from phylotyping) and metabolic potential (from metagenomes), with information on what genes are expressed and functioning from metatranscriptomes and metaproteomes, has opened a new window of opportunity for mapping and predicting biochemical processes in permafrost soils. Considering that 25% of Earth’s terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost (ground that has been continuously frozen for at least 2 years), this work will advance our understanding of the diversity of microbial life in this extreme habitat.

For more information, go here

Citation: Graham, D.E., M.D. Wallenstein, T.A. Vishnivetskaya, M.P. Waldrop, T.J. Phelps, S.M.  Pfiffner, T.C. Onstott, L.G. Whyte, E.M. Rivkina, D.A. Gilichinsky, D.A. Elias, R. Mackelprang, N.C. VerBerkmoes, R.L. Hettich,  D. Wagner, S.D. Wullschleger, and J.K. Jansson (2012), Microbes in thawing permafrost: The unknown variable in the climate change equation. ISME Journal, 6, 709–712; DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2011.163.

Funding Source: DOE BER under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory