The Arctic plays a key role in the Earths climate system, because global warming is predicted to be most pronounced at high latitudes, and one third of the global carbon pool is stored in ecosystems of the northern latitudes. The degradation of permafrost and the associated release of climate-relevant trace gases from intensified microbial turnover of organic carbon and from destabilized gas hydrates represent a potential environmental hazard.The microorganisms, which are the drivers of methane production and oxidation in Arctic wetlands, have remained obscure. Their function, population structure and reaction to environmental change is largely unknown, which means that also an important part of the process knowledge on methane fluxes in permafrost ecosystems is far from completely understood. This hampers prediction of the effects of climate warming on arctic methane fluxes. Understanding these microbial populations is therefore highly important for understanding the global climatic effects of a warming Arctic. This talk will examine the activity and diversity of methane-cycling microorganisms in Siberian permafrost ecosystems.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL7-From permafrost to deep sea in the Arctic