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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Reaching Deep into the Big Black Box: diversity and functionality of arctic microbes.

Awarded: NOK 24,310

In a broad sense, this research aims to elucidate microbial community structure and the forces that shape succession and diversity patterns within sea ice: light regimes, nutrient influxes, parasitism, and mutualism. Heavy fungal parasitism of diatoms ob served in Barrow, Alaska, (Personal observations) suggests microbial interactions greatly influence primary production patterns. To explore diversity patterns in both time and space, a metagenomics analysis will be conducted to explore total Eukaryotic d iversity from arctic samples by extracting and sequencing all DNA. Samples will be collected monthly from January through July to explore microbial community diversity, abundance, and structure from polar night, through ice bloom, to ice melt. To examin e the physiological role of microbes in the presence of changing abiotic conditions and well as biological interactions, a gene expression profile will conducted. Specifically, a metatranscriptomics approach will be conducted to look at total community g ene expression. This analysis will offer a glimpse of acute physiological adaptations of microbes through gene expression, as well as paint a picture of microbial processes: virulence gene expression, photorespiration-related genes, secondary metabolite production, etc. In doing so, this research will help elucidate the ecological and physiological processes of microbes in the Arctic through the examination of gene expression, which directly relates to ecological functionality of microbial clades: primar y producers, parasites, nutrient cyclers, etc.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum