Oral Presentation Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting 2019

Microbial dynamics in a thawing world (#189)

Gene Tyson 1
  1. University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia

High northern latitudes are at the leading edge of global climate change with the effects of warming already evident in degrading permafrost. Increased thawing of permafrost, a significant global carbon pool, makes previously sequestered carbon available for microbial degradation. Increased ambient temperature results in a transition from pristine (frozen) permafrost, through an intermediate (thawing) state, to fully degraded and flooded end state (thawed). Transition to a thawed state has been associated with dramatic increases in biogenic production of methane and a change in overall greenhouse gas balance. Our research aims to investigate microbial communities associated with this shift with a view to predicting post-permafrost community composition and function, and global warming feedbacks. Microbial communities along such a thaw gradient in Stordalen Mire, northern Sweden were characterised using meta-omic approaches. Our results reveal distinct differences in the microbial communities at each site along the thaw gradient, which can be directly associated with thaw state and increasing methane emission.