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

Oliver Schmidt (postdoc)
Kathrin M. Bender (PhD candidate)
Tilman JS. Schmider (PhD candidate)
Yngvild Bjørdal (research assistent)
Laureen S. Ahlers (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
Yngvild Bjørdal (graduated MSc; June 2020)
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


August 2022 Alexander T. Tveit will give a talk at the Gordon Research Conference (Waterville Valley, USA) - Molecular Basis of Microbial One-Carbon Metabolism: Enzymes and Metabolisms Driving the Global Carbon Cycle (invited speaker). Title: tba 
9. Dec. 2021 Alexander T. Tveit will give a talk at the NORDic network for BioGeoScience in terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems (online). Title: tba
29. Nov. 2021 Vincent Carrier will defend his PhD thesis! More info will follow soon
1. Nov. 2021 Alexander T. Tveit will give a talk at the Ny-Ålesund Terrestrial Flagship side-meeting at the Svalbard Science Conference (Oslo). Title: tba
21. - 29. Oct. 2021 Alexander T. TveitAndrea Söllinger, and Laureen S. Ahlers will go on a sampling trip to Iceland. Finally at the ForHot sampling sites!
October 2021 OUT NOW! Edda M Rainer, Christophe VW Seppey, Caroline Hammer, Mette M Svenning & Alexander T. Tveit published a paper in MicroorganismsThe Influence of Above-Ground Herbivory on the Response of Arctic Soil Methanotrophs to Increasing CH4 Concentrations and Temperatures
Autumn 2021 Andrea Söllinger was (s)elected as member of the AMB institute committee (representative of all temporal employees & the Microorganisms and Plants group). Congratulations Andreaand thanks for taking over this responsibility!
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.
8. Oct. 2021 Bowling - the Methane-Group gathered for a social evening and new challanges ;-)
7. Oct. 2021 Oliver Schmidt gave a talk at the Microorganisms & Plants seminar. Title: The root zone of fen graminoids: hot spot for fermenters trophically linked to methanogens
27. - 28. Sept. 2021 Kathrin M. Bender, Yngvild Bjørdal, Liabo L. Motleleng, Andrea Söllinger, and Alexander T. Tveit went on a field-road-trip sampling peat soils in nothern Finland, Sweden, and Norway
September 2021 Yngvild Bjørdal joined the CECO team as a research assistant. Welcome back Yngvild!
August 2021 Laureen S. Ahlers joined the CECO team as a master student. Welcome Laureen!

 *** more CECO NEWS & history ***



Rainer, Seppey, Hammer, Svenning & Tveit. 2021. The Influence of Above-Ground Herbivory on the Response of Arctic Soil Methanotrophs to Increasing CH4 Concentrations and TemperaturesMicroorganisms

YangLiebnerSvenning & Tveit. 2021. Decoupling of microbial community dynamics and functions in Arctic peat soil exposed to short term warmingMolecular Ecology

Yngvild Bjørdal. 2021. Rapid microbial responses to temperature changes in Arctic anoxic peat soilMaster thesis

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: 13.10.2021




***Open positions***

*** CECO NEWS ***


Lab hiking day. 25 June 2021. Blåvatnet
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