Project description:The fate of the carbon stocked in permafrost soils following global warming and permafrost thaw is of major concern in view of the potential for increased CH4 and CO2 emissions from these soils. Complex carbon compound degradation and greenhouse gas emissions are due to soil microbial communities, but their composition and functional potential in permafrost soils are largely unknown. Here, a 2 m deep permafrost and its overlying active layer soil were subjected to metagenome sequencing, quantitative PCR, and microarray analyses. The active layer soil and 2 m permafrost soil microbial community structures were very similar, with Actinobacteria being the dominant phylum. The two soils also possessed a highly similar spectrum of functional genes, especially when compared to other already published metagenomes. Key genes related to methane generation, methane oxidation and organic matter degradation were highly diverse for both soils in the metagenomic libraries and some (e.g. pmoA) showed relatively high abundance in qPCR assays. Genes related to nitrogen fixation and ammonia oxidation, which could have important roles following climatic change in these nitrogen-limited environments, showed low diversity but high abundance. The 2 m permafrost soil showed lower abundance and diversity for all the assessed genes and taxa. Experimental biases were also evaluated and showed that the whole community genome amplification technique used caused large representational biases in the metagenomic libraries. This study described for the first time the detailed functional potential of permafrost-affected soils and detected several genes and microorganisms that could have crucial importance following permafrost thaw. A 2m deep permafrost sample and it overlying active layer were sampled and their metagenome analysed. For microarray analyses, 8 other soil samples from the same region were used for comparison purposes.
Project description:The fate of the carbon stocked in permafrost soils following global warming and permafrost thaw is of major concern in view of the potential for increased CH4 and CO2 emissions from these soils. Complex carbon compound degradation and greenhouse gas emissions are due to soil microbial communities, but their composition and functional potential in permafrost soils are largely unknown. Here, a 2 m deep permafrost and its overlying active layer soil were subjected to metagenome sequencing, quantitative PCR, and microarray analyses. The active layer soil and 2 m permafrost soil microbial community structures were very similar, with Actinobacteria being the dominant phylum. The two soils also possessed a highly similar spectrum of functional genes, especially when compared to other already published metagenomes. Key genes related to methane generation, methane oxidation and organic matter degradation were highly diverse for both soils in the metagenomic libraries and some (e.g. pmoA) showed relatively high abundance in qPCR assays. Genes related to nitrogen fixation and ammonia oxidation, which could have important roles following climatic change in these nitrogen-limited environments, showed low diversity but high abundance. The 2 m permafrost soil showed lower abundance and diversity for all the assessed genes and taxa. Experimental biases were also evaluated and showed that the whole community genome amplification technique used caused large representational biases in the metagenomic libraries. This study described for the first time the detailed functional potential of permafrost-affected soils and detected several genes and microorganisms that could have crucial importance following permafrost thaw. Overall design: A 2m deep permafrost sample and it overlying active layer were sampled and their metagenome analysed. For microarray analyses, 8 other soil samples from the same region were used for comparison purposes.
Project description:Permafrost underlies a large portion of the land in the Northern Hemisphere. It is proposed to be an extreme habitat and home for cold-adaptive microbial communities. Upon thaw permafrost is predicted to exacerbate increasing global temperature trend, where awakening microbes decompose millennia old carbon stocks. Yet our knowledge on composition, functional potential and variance of permafrost microbiome remains limited. In this study, we conducted a deep comparative metagenomic analysis through a 2 m permafrost core from Svalbard, Norway to determine key permafrost microbiome in this climate sensitive island ecosystem. To do so, we developed comparative metagenomics methods on metagenomic-assembled genomes (MAG). We found that community composition in Svalbard soil horizons shifted markedly with depth: the dominant phylum switched from Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria in top soils (active layer) to Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi and Proteobacteria in permafrost layers. Key metabolic potential propagated through permafrost depths revealed aerobic respiration and soil organic matter decomposition as key metabolic traits. We also found that Svalbard MAGs were enriched in genes involved in regulation of ammonium, sulfur and phosphate. Here, we provide a new perspective on how permafrost microbiome is shaped to acquire resources in competitive and limited resource conditions of deep Svalbard soils.
Project description:Permafrost contains one of the least known soil microbiomes, where microbial populations reside in an ice-locked environment. Here, 56 prokaryotic metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) sequences from 13 phyla are reported. These MAGs will provide information on metabolic pathways that could mediate biogeochemical cycles in Svalbard permafrost.
Project description:Drilling and handling of permanently frozen soil cores without microbial contamination is of concern because contamination e.g. from the active layer above may lead to incorrect interpretation of results in experiments investigating potential and actual microbial activity in these low microbial biomass environments. Here, we present an example of how microbial contamination from active layer soil affected analysis of the potentially active microbial community in permafrost soil. We also present the development and use of two tracers: (1) fluorescent plastic microspheres and (2) Pseudomonas putida genetically tagged with Green Fluorescent Protein production to mimic potential microbial contamination of two permafrost cores. A protocol with special emphasis on avoiding microbial contamination was developed and employed to examine how far microbial contamination can penetrate into permafrost cores. The quantity of tracer elements decreased with depth into the permafrost cores, but the tracers were detected as far as 17?mm from the surface of the cores. The results emphasize that caution should be taken to avoid microbial contamination of permafrost cores and that the application of tracers represents a useful tool to assess penetration of potential microbial contamination into permafrost cores.
Project description:Permafrost soils are large reservoirs of potentially labile carbon (C). Understanding the dynamics of C release from these soils requires us to account for the impact of wildfires, which are increasing in frequency as the climate changes. Boreal wildfires contribute to global emission of greenhouse gases (GHG-CO2, CH4 and N2O) and indirectly result in the thawing of near-surface permafrost. In this study, we aimed to define the impact of fire on soil microbial communities and metabolic potential for GHG fluxes in samples collected up to 1?m depth from an upland black spruce forest near Nome Creek, Alaska. We measured geochemistry, GHG fluxes, potential soil enzyme activities and microbial community structure via 16SrRNA gene and metagenome sequencing. We found that soil moisture, C content and the potential for respiration were reduced by fire, as were microbial community diversity and metabolic potential. There were shifts in dominance of several microbial community members, including a higher abundance of candidate phylum AD3 after fire. The metagenome data showed that fire had a pervasive impact on genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, methanogenesis and the nitrogen cycle. Although fire resulted in an immediate release of CO2 from surface soils, our results suggest that the potential for emission of GHG was ultimately reduced at all soil depths over the longer term. Because of the size of the permafrost C reservoir, these results are crucial for understanding whether fire produces a positive or negative feedback loop contributing to the global C cycle.
Project description:Increasing temperatures have been shown to impact soil biogeochemical processes, although the corresponding changes to the underlying microbial functional communities are not well understood. Alterations in the nitrogen (N) cycling functional component are particularly important as N availability can affect microbial decomposition rates of soil organic matter and influence plant productivity. To assess changes in the microbial component responsible for these changes, the composition of the N-fixing (nifH), and denitrifying (nirS, nirK, nosZ) soil microbial communities was assessed by targeted pyrosequencing of functional genes involved in N cycling in two major biomes where the experimental effect of climate warming is under investigation, a tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma (OK) and the active layer above permafrost in Alaska (AK). Raw reads were processed for quality, translated with frameshift correction, and a total of 313,842 amino acid sequences were clustered and linked to a nearest neighbor using reference datasets. The number of OTUs recovered ranged from 231 (NifH) to 862 (NirK). The N functional microbial communities of the prairie, which had experienced a decade of experimental warming were the most affected with changes in the richness and/or overall structure of NifH, NirS, NirK and NosZ. In contrast, the AK permafrost communities, which had experienced only 1 year of warming, showed decreased richness and a structural change only with the nirK-harboring bacterial community. A highly divergent nirK-harboring bacterial community was identified in the permafrost soils, suggesting much novelty, while other N functional communities exhibited similar relatedness to the reference databases, regardless of site. Prairie and permafrost soils also harbored highly divergent communities due mostly to differing major populations.
Project description:Permafrost-affected soils are among the most obvious ecosystems in which current microbial controls on organic matter decomposition are changing as a result of global warming. Warmer conditions in polygonal tundra will lead to a deepening of the seasonal active layer, provoking changes in microbial processes and possibly resulting in exacerbated carbon degradation under increasing anoxic conditions. To identify current microbial assemblages in carbon rich, water saturated permafrost environments, four polygonal tundra sites were investigated on Herschel Island and the Yukon Coast, Western Canadian Arctic. Ion Torrent sequencing of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA amplicons revealed the presence of all major microbial soil groups and indicated a local, vertical heterogeneity of the polygonal tundra soil community with increasing depth. Microbial diversity was found to be highest in the surface layers, decreasing towards the permafrost table. Quantitative PCR analysis of functional genes involved in carbon and nitrogen-cycling revealed a high functional potential in the surface layers, decreasing with increasing active layer depth. We observed that soil properties driving microbial diversity and functional potential varied in each study site. These results highlight the small-scale heterogeneity of geomorphologically comparable sites, greatly restricting generalizations about the fate of permafrost-affected environments in a warming Arctic.
Project description:The response of microbial communities to the predicted rising temperatures in alpine regions might be an important part of the ability of these ecosystems to deal with climate change. Soil microbial communities might be significantly affected by elevated temperatures, which influence the functioning of soils within high-alpine ecosystems. To evaluate the potential of the permafrost microbiome to adapt to short-term moderate and extreme warming, we set up an incubation experiment with permafrost and active soil layers from northern and southern slopes of a high-alpine mountain ridge on Muot da Barba Peider in the Swiss Alps. Soils were acclimated to increasing temperatures (4-40°C) for 26 days before being exposed to a heat shock treatment of 40°C for 4 days. Alpha-diversity in all soils increased slightly under gradual warming, from 4 to 25°C, but then dropped considerably at 40°C. Similarly, heat shock induced strong changes in microbial community structures and functioning in the active layer of soils from both northern and southern slope aspects. In contrast, permafrost soils showed only minor changes in their microbial community structures and no changes in their functioning, except regarding specific respiration activity. Shifts in microbial community structures with increasing temperature were significantly more pronounced for bacteria than for fungi, regardless of the soil origin, suggesting higher resistance of high-alpine fungi to short-term warming. Firmicutes, mainly represented by Tumebacillus and Alicyclobacillaceae OTUs, increased strongly at 40°C in active layer soils, reaching almost 50% of the total abundance. In contrast, Saccharibacteria decreased significantly with increasing temperature across all soil samples. Overall, our study highlights the divergent responses of fungal and bacterial communities to increased temperature. Fungi were highly resistant to increased temperatures compared to bacteria, and permafrost communities showed surprisingly low response to rising temperature. The unique responses were related to both site aspect and soil origin indicating that distinct differences within high-alpine soils may be driven by substrate limitation and legacy effects of soil temperatures at the field site.
Project description:Permafrost-affected soils in the Northern latitudes store huge amounts of organic carbon (OC) that is prone to microbial degradation and subsequent release of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. In Greenland, the consequences of permafrost thaw have only recently been addressed, and predictions on its impact on the carbon budget are thus still highly uncertain. However, the fate of OC is not only determined by abiotic factors, but closely tied to microbial activity. We investigated eight soil profiles in northeast Greenland comprising two sites with typical tundra vegetation and one wet fen site. We assessed microbial community structure and diversity (SSU rRNA gene tag sequencing, quantification of bacteria, archaea and fungi), and measured hydrolytic and oxidative enzyme activities. Sampling site and thus abiotic factors had a significant impact on microbial community structure, diversity and activity, the wet fen site exhibiting higher potential enzyme activities and presumably being a hot spot for anaerobic degradation processes such as fermentation and methanogenesis. Lowest fungal to bacterial ratios were found in topsoils that had been relocated by cryoturbation ("buried topsoils"), resulting from a decrease in fungal abundance compared to recent ("unburied") topsoils. Actinobacteria (in particular Intrasporangiaceae) accounted for a major fraction of the microbial community in buried topsoils, but were only of minor abundance in all other soil horizons. It was indicated that the distribution pattern of Actinobacteria and a variety of other bacterial classes was related to the activity of phenol oxidases and peroxidases supporting the hypothesis that bacteria might resume the role of fungi in oxidative enzyme production and degradation of phenolic and other complex substrates in these soils. Our study sheds light on the highly diverse, but poorly-studied communities in permafrost-affected soils in Greenland and their role in OC degradation.