Microbial communities of cryolithozone wetland ecosystems in Western Siberia
Long-term research pursued by foreign and Russian scientists provides strong evidence that microbial communities in perpetually frozen soils of the North play a significant role in regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
It is commonly known that boggy soils accumulate organic remains for centuries thus becoming the largest carbon pool on Earth. That is why there is growing concern in the scientific community that increased activity of soil microflora might further promote global climate change. The project addresses functional aspects of microorganisms in boggy soils. It also helps to identify trends in changes of microbial communities in bog landscapes of Western Siberia under different environmental conditions.
The research employs both classical microbiological methods and molecular biology techniques. Traditional plating helped to identify optimum conditions in boggy soil profiles for the development of eutrophic and oligotrophic microflora and humus-destroying microorganisms.
The idea of using metagenomic analysis to study microbial communities in perpetually frozen soils along longitudinal megaprofile belongs to Sergey Nuzhdin, Professor of Molecular and Computational Biology at the University of Southern California (USA) and author of many scientific articles, including publications in Science, PNAS, PLoS Biology, Current Biology, Nature Genetics. DNA extraction and amplification is carried out with the participation of fellow Department of Biological Studies. Involvement of professionals from these institutions, as well as leading foreign scientists from the University of Southern California who specialize in next generation sequencing for environmental and evolution studies will provide an impetus to genomics as an area of environmental research in Western Siberia.