Microbial controls on the degradation of permafrost soil carbon following thaw

Seminar Details
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Karl Romanowicz, EEB Graduate Student


1010 Biological Sciences 


Sponsoring Department(s)

EEB Tuesday Lunch Seminar

Soils contain more carbon than the atmosphere and vegetation combined, and northern permafrost regions in the arctic represent ~50% of the global belowground soil organic carbon pool, most of which has been preserved frozen for thousands of years. Recent climate warming primarily through anthropogenic processes has initiated substantial regional permafrost thaw that could potentially convert permafrost soil organic carbon into an important source of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and methane (CH 4 ) to the atmosphere and serve as a positive feedback to global warming. However, the organic carbon in permafrost soils must first be dissolved and oxidized before it can feedback to the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. My research investigates the microbial controls on the degradation (i.e., partial and complete oxidation to CO 2 and CH 4 ) of 
dissolved organic carbon (DOC) released from thawing permafrost soils. My research questions focus on important connections between the soil environment and the microbial characteristics (microbial membership, microbial community properties, and microbial processes) that facilitate DOC degradation in thawing permafrost.