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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Microorganisms move in circles: from sea to air to snow

Awarded: NOK 72,999

This project builds upon a previously published study (Feltracco et al., 2021), where fjord dynamics were connected to airborne microbial communities and aerosol chemistry. In this initial study, my collaborators were unable to collect surface water samples to indentify aerosolized microorganisms and consequently could not trace their deposition onto snowpacks. To this end, we plan to sample surface water, air and snow over the course of several weeks during the April-May transition in 2022. This is the first investigation that links fjord dynamics, aersol transport and deposition of microorganisms onto terrestrial ecosystems and will provide a fundamental advance in outstanding questions in the field of microbial ecology and will contribute to the work of my master’s thesis. Understanding microbial dynamics is an emerging field in cryosphere sciences, which research focussing on glaciers, fjords, snow and permafrost. However, this is the first investigation that seeks to link fjord-air-snow dynamics. In order to develop this project, I initiated a collaboration with several PIs (Klara Wolf, Clara Hoppe, Catherine Larose, Andrea Spolaor and Jean-Charles Gallet) to connect three of these ecosystems (fjord-air-snow) to gain a deeper understanding of microbial transport processes in the Arctic.

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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum