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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2014 Jun;12(6):414-25. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3262. Epub 2014 May 12.

The microbial ecology of permafrost.

Author information

1
1] Ecology Department, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, One Cyclotron Road, MS 70A-3317 Berkeley, California 94720, USA. [2] Joint Genome Institute (JGI), 2800 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, California 94598, USA. [3] Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), 5885 Hollis Street, Emeryville, California 94608, USA. [4] Danish Center for Permafrost (CENPERM), University of Copenhagen, Oester Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen, Denmark. [5] Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, 111 Koshland Hall, Berkeley, California 94720-3102, USA.
2
Ecology Department, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, One Cyclotron Road, MS 70A-3317 Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Abstract

Permafrost constitutes a major portion of the terrestrial cryosphere of the Earth and is a unique ecological niche for cold-adapted microorganisms. There is a relatively high microbial diversity in permafrost, although there is some variation in community composition across different permafrost features and between sites. Some microorganisms are even active at subzero temperatures in permafrost. An emerging concern is the impact of climate change and the possibility of subsequent permafrost thaw promoting microbial activity in permafrost, resulting in increased potential for greenhouse-gas emissions. This Review describes new data on the microbial ecology of permafrost and provides a platform for understanding microbial life strategies in frozen soil as well as the impact of climate change on permafrost microorganisms and their functional roles.

PMID:
24814065
DOI:
10.1038/nrmicro3262
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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