U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Soil Microbiome in Arctic Polygonal Tundra Unlocked
Published: February 22, 2018
Posted: March 07, 2018

Landscape topography structures the soil microbiome in Arctic polygonal tundra.

The Science
In the Arctic, environmental factors governing microbial degradation of soil carbon (C) in active layer and permafrost are poorly understood. Here a team of scientists from NGEE-Arctic determined the functional potential of soil microbiomes horizontally and vertically across a cryoperturbed polygonal landscape in Barrow, Alaska.

The Impact
The role of ecosystem structure in microbial activity related to greenhouse gas production is poorly understood. Here, they show that microbial communities and ecosystem function vary across fine-scale topography in an Arctic polygonal tundra.

With comparative metagenomics, genome binning of novel microbes, and gas flux measurements a team of scientists from the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) Arctic show that microbial greenhouse gas production is strongly correlated to landscape topography. While microbial functions such as fermentation and methanogenesis were dominant in wetter polygons, in drier polygons genes for C mineralization and CH4 oxidation were abundant. The active layer microbiome was poised to assimilate N and not to release N2O, reflecting low N2O flux measurements. These results provide mechanistic links of microbial metabolism to GHG fluxes that are needed for the refinement of model predictions.

Contacts (BER PM)
Daniel Stover

(PI Contact)
Author: Neslihan Tas
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

LBNL POC: Susan Hubbard
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

PI: Stan Wullschleger
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) project is supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science. The Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, is supported through contract number DE-AC0205CH11231 to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Tas, Neslihan, Emmanuel Prestat, Shi Wang, Yuxin Wu, Craig Ulrich, Timothy Kneafsey, Susannah G. Tringe, Margaret S. Torn, Susan S. Hubbard & Janet K. Jansson. "Landscape topography structures the soil microbiome in arctic polygonal tundra." Nature Communications 9, article 777 (2018). [DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-03089-z]

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI)
  • Research Area: Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


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