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Program / Module 3

Module 3 - Microbes and Biogeochemical Fluxes of Nutrients and Carbon

Module Leader: Nigel Roulet

Microbial biogeochemical activities in soils determine nutrient availability to plants and therefore are critical to the structure and functioning of arctic terrestrial ecosystems. This ADAPT module will evaluate the multiple ways in which select microbial community properties and biogeochemical processes that are linked to permafrost, liquid water and snow conditions can have critical impacts on arctic terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. In our permafrost soils work, we will examine the effects of rapid rises in soil temperature and soil moisture on soil microbes and nutrient availability. Although broad seasonal patterns of nutrient supply to plants by microbial decomposition of soil organic matter have been characterized, the importance of sudden rapid environmental changes that occur within a few hours at discrete times each year to microbial nutrient fluxes has not yet been considered.

Microbial activities in tundra lakes and ponds are critical to providing many essential Earth system services including drinking water supplies for northern residents (increasingly at risk in discontinuous permafrost regions), and habitats for Arctic char and other aquatic wildlife.