Cells in the Cold (CECO)


A delicate network of cold-adapted microbial cells controls greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Arctic permafrost ecosystems, one of the largest potential methane (CH4) sources in the warming Arctic. Because Arctic ecosystems are central to the current climate change impacts, microbial processes in these environments are particularly important in a global context.

CECO is dedicated to expose the structure and evolution of cold-adapted carbon-cycling microbial networks and to reveal regulatory mechanisms of these networks that underlie climatic regulation of anaerobic and aerobic GHG emissions from Arctic terrestrial ecosystems.

Combining advanced laboratory and field equipment with cutting-edge methods in microbial ecology, including metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, stable isotope probing, and sophisticated aerobic and anaerobic cultivation techniques, we focus on four main subjects within CECO.


I) Atmospheric methane oxidizing bacteria

II) Long-term soil warming effects on microbial metabolism

III) Key microbial processes that control organic matter decomposition in high Arctic peatlands

IV) Methane oxidizing microbial communities in open-system pingo methane seeps


The CECO Team

Kathrin M. Bender (PhD candidate)
Tilman JS. Schmider (PhD candidate)
Yngvild Bjørdal (master student)
Associates at UiT, national, and international collaborators
Andrew Hodson (UNIS,University Centre in Svalbard)
Sophie Abby (CNRS and University of Grenoble-Alpes, France)
Andreas Richter (University of Vienna, Austria)
Thomas Rattei (University of Vienna, Austria)
Tim Urich (University of Greifswald, Germany)
Maialen Barret (Ecolab, INPT-ENSAT, Toulouse, France)
Former CECO members & graduated students
Pernille M. Skaset Fåne (graduated MSc; September 2020)
Anne Margriet Mol (visiting scientist, graduated BSc; July 2020)
Franziska Nagel (graduated MSc; June 2020)
Sara Sidra (student apprentice; March 2019 - August 2019)
Jeanette Slettnes Grunnvåg (graduated MSc)


CECO is financially supported by the Tromsø research foundation. Furthermore, we acknowledge support by the Research council of Norway and Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway.

CECO NEWS - latest activities & publications


29. Apr. 2021 Alexander T. Tveit will give a talk at the Institute of Microbiology, University of Innsbruck, Austria. Title: Microbial temperature responses in Arctic soils
20. May 2021 Andrea Söllinger will give a talk at the Microorganisms & Plants seminar. Title: Central metabolic responses of microorganisms to years and decades of soil warming
June 2021 Andrea Söllinger will give a talk at the World Microbe Forum - online - Title: Central metabolic responses of microorganisms to years and decades of soil warming
July 2021 CANCELLED! Alexander T. Tveit will give a talk at the Gordon Research Conference - Applied and Environmental microbiology (invited speaker). Title: tba
2021 - 2025 Alexander T. Tveit got a new project funded: Living on Air (LoAir). The project was funded (8 MNOK) by the Research Council of Norway (Researcher Project for Young Talents). CONGRATULATIONS Alex! More information will follow.
30. Mar. 2021 OUT NOW! Kathrin M. Bender, Mette M. Svenning, Yuntao Hu, Andreas Richter, Julia Schückel, Bodil Jørgensen, Susanne Liebner and Alexander T. Tveit published a paper in Polar BiologyMicrobial responses to herbivory‑induced vegetation changes in a high‑Arctic peatland. CONGRATULATIONS on your 1st paper Kathi!
12. - 22. Apr. 2021 Coline Le Noir de Carlan and Biplabi Bhattarai, our ForHot colleagues from Belgium and Estonia, went back to Iceland for a sampling trip - lucky us - they sentsome ice-cold ForHot soil samples dirctly to Tromsø. Tusen takk!
22. Apr. 2021 Tilman Schmider gave a talk at the Microorganisms & Plants seminar. Title: Simultaneous Oxidation of Atmospheric Methane, Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen for Bacterial Growth
21. Mar. 2021 OUT NOW! Andrea Söllinger co-authored a publication in The ISME JournalThe soil microbial food web revisited: Predatory myxobacteria as keystone taxa?
March 2021 Lisa-Marie Delpech joined our reseach group. Welcome Lisa-Marie!

   *** more CECO NEWS & history ***



Bender et al. 2021. Microbial responses to herbivory‑induced vegetation changes in a high‑Arctic peatland. Polar Biology

Petters, Groß, Söllinger et al. 2021. The soil microbial food web revisited: Predatory myxobacteria as keystone taxa? The ISME Journal

Mauerhofer, ..., Schmider et al. 2021. Hyperthermophilic methanogenic archaea act as high-pressure CH4 cell factories. Communications Biology

Tveit & Schmider et al. 2021. Simultaneous Oxidation of Atmospheric Methane, Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen for Bacterial Growth. Microorganisms

Tveit et al. 2020Environmental patterns of brown moss- and Sphagnum-associated microbial communities. Scientific Reports

Carrier et al. 2020. The Impact of Methane on Microbial Communities at Marine Arctic Gas Hydrate Bearing Sediment. Frontiers in Microbiology

Rainer et al. 2020Methanotroph populations and CH4 oxidation potentials in High Arctic peat are altered by herbivory induced vegetation changeFEMS Microbiology Ecology

Cabrol et al. 2020Anaerobic oxidation of methane and associated microbiome in anoxicwater of Northwestern Siberian lakes. Science of The Total Environment

Söllinger & Urich 2019. Methylotrophic methanogens everywhere — physiology and ecology of novel players in global methane cycling. Biochemical Society Transactions

Jeanette Slettnes Grunnvåg 2019. Time dependent temperature effects on methane production in Arctic peat soils. Master thesis

Tveit et al. 2019Widespread soil bacterium that oxidizes atmospheric methane. PNAS

Salgado-Flores et al. 2019. Characterization of the cecum microbiome from wild and captive rock ptarmigans indigenous to Arctic Norway. PLoS ONE

Söllinger et al. 2018. Holistic Assessment of Rumen Microbiome Dynamics through Quantitative Metatranscriptomics Reveals Multifunctional Redundancy during Key Steps of Anaerobic Feed Degradation. mSystems







 last update: 22.04.2021




***Open positions***

*** CECO NEWS ***


Mud everywhere - read the cruise blog on the sampling adventure of Dimitri, Alex, and Tilman, September 2020, Svalbard. Foto: Dimitri Kalenitchenko
Listen to the PNAS Science Sessions Podcast with Mette M. Svenning and Alexander T. Tveit describing their work on Methylocapsa gorgona, the first ever isolated atmospheric methane oxidizing bacterium
Ny Ålesund. Soil samples of grazing enclosures. From left to right: 14 y enclosure, 4 y enclosure, grazed sample. Foto: Mette M. Svenning
Pris til yngre forskarFoto: Jonatan Ottesen
Exciting microbes @forskningsdagene 2019
Unexpected visitor @Lagoon pingoFoto: Franziska Nagel
Lagoon pingo - from a bird's eye view
Kathi's Cells in the Cold
Our guinea pig