Microbial moss symbionts in Arctic peat lands

Microbial moss symbionts in Arctic peat lands

Bryophytes can live in symbiosis with cyanobacteria carrying out nitrogen fixation and methane oxidizing bacteria. In particular, this association occurs with bryophytes such as Sphagnum and the so called brown mosses which are widely distributed in the pristine and often oligotrophic peatlands of the high northern latitudes. Most likely, methane oxidation bacteria thereby benefit from the release of oxygen as a result of photosynthesis through the moss. In turn, methane oxidizing bacteria utilize oxygen to consume methane; a process which results in the production of CO2 which again is available to the moss for assimilation. The importance of moss associated microbial communities for the element cycling of Arctic peatlands is of greater relevance given the present climatic changes the Arctic region is facing.

In the project ArcBiont we will investigates microbial communities associated with Arctic and Sub-Arctic peat mosses from Svalbard, Finnmark, and the Siberian Lena Delta. As a reference, peatlands from northern Germany is included. ArcBiont specifically focuses on microbial symbionts of the methane cycle and identifies their biogeography and relevance for the carbon cycle of Arctic peatlands. Additionally, the project links the carbon with the nitrogen cycle by uncovering the importance of the microbial symbionts of the methane cycle for the process of nitrogen fixation since many strains in the methane cycle are capable of nitrogen fixation.

The Helmholtz International Research Group ArcBiont is a collaborative project between the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (Germany) and the UiT The Arctic University of Norway-Department of Arctic and Marine Biology (Norway).

Dr. Susanne Liebner; sliebner@gfz-potsdam.de
Prof. Dirk Wagner; dirk.wagner@gfz-potsdam.de
PhD Andrea Kiss; akiss@gfz-potsdam.de
Prof. Mette M. Svenning; mette.svenning@uit.no
Alexander Tøsdal Tveit; alexander.t.tveit@uit.no

Page administrator: Mette Marianne Svenning
created: 25.02.2014 09:50