Presentation Title

Development of Incubation Chambers for Studying Microbial Interactions in Permafrost

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Due to climate change, permafrost environments are changing: the active layer (which thaws seasonally) is thickening; permafrost (which has remained permanently frozen) thaw is accelerating, mobilizing the large reservoir of stored organic carbon. This stored carbon will be transformed into carbon dioxide and methane by microbial processes. Alteration of the permafrost environment can have important ecological effects, as new interactions develop between microorganisms in the thawing permafrost and with microbes in the active layer. With this knowledge, it is necessary to study how the microorganisms and the nutrients become mobilized within the permafrost and between the active layer and the permafrost. The purpose of this research is to develop a technique that will allow us to study how the microorganisms interact in the permafrost and predict what changes will occur in the microbial community. To study the nutrient and microbial mobility in permafrost, Escherichia coli DH5-alpha with the GFP plasmid will be placed in incubation chambers designed to permit or restrict microbial dispersal from the chambers. To test the chambers we will carry out qPCR to quantify the number of Escherichia coli DH5-alpha that disperse out of the chambers. The development of these incubation chambers will allow us to study how the interaction between the microorganisms from the active layer and the permafrost will affect the ecological processes that arise following permafrost thaw.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Eric Bottos

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Development of Incubation Chambers for Studying Microbial Interactions in Permafrost

Due to climate change, permafrost environments are changing: the active layer (which thaws seasonally) is thickening; permafrost (which has remained permanently frozen) thaw is accelerating, mobilizing the large reservoir of stored organic carbon. This stored carbon will be transformed into carbon dioxide and methane by microbial processes. Alteration of the permafrost environment can have important ecological effects, as new interactions develop between microorganisms in the thawing permafrost and with microbes in the active layer. With this knowledge, it is necessary to study how the microorganisms and the nutrients become mobilized within the permafrost and between the active layer and the permafrost. The purpose of this research is to develop a technique that will allow us to study how the microorganisms interact in the permafrost and predict what changes will occur in the microbial community. To study the nutrient and microbial mobility in permafrost, Escherichia coli DH5-alpha with the GFP plasmid will be placed in incubation chambers designed to permit or restrict microbial dispersal from the chambers. To test the chambers we will carry out qPCR to quantify the number of Escherichia coli DH5-alpha that disperse out of the chambers. The development of these incubation chambers will allow us to study how the interaction between the microorganisms from the active layer and the permafrost will affect the ecological processes that arise following permafrost thaw.