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Title: Genomics in a changing arctic: critical questions await the molecular ecologist

Molecular ecology is poised to tackle a host of interesting questions in the coming years. Of particular importance to the molecular ecologist are new technologies and analytical approaches that provide opportunities to address questions previously unapproachable.The Arctic provides a unique and rapidly changing environment with a suite of emerging research needs that can be addressed through genetics and genomics. Here we highlight recent research on boreal and tundra ecosystems and put forth a series of questions related to plant and microbial responses to climate change that can benefit from technologies and analytical approaches contained within the molecular ecologist's toolbox. These questions include understanding (i) the mechanisms of plant acquisition and uptake of N in cold soils, (ii) how these processes are mediated by root traits, (iii) the role played by the plant microbiome in cycling C and nutrients within high-latitude ecosystems and (iv) plant adaptation to extreme Arctic climates. We highlight how contributions can be made in these areas through studies that target model and nonmodel organisms and emphasize that the sequencing of the Populus and Salix genomes provides a valuable resource for scientific discoveries related to the plant microbiome and plant adaptation in the Arctic. Moreover, there exists anmore » exciting role to play in model development, including incorporating genetic and evolutionary knowledge into ecosystem and Earth System Models. In this regard, the molecular ecologist provides a valuable perspective on plant genetics as a driver for community biodiversity, and how ecological and evolutionary forces govern community dynamics in a rapidly changing climate.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst., Environmental Sciences Division
  2. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks AK (United States). International Arctic Research Center
  3. Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX (United States). Dept. of Biological Sciences
  4. Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umea (Sweden). Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management; Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umea (Sweden). Umea Plant Science Centre, Dept. of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
  5. Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umea (Sweden). Umea Plant Science Centre, Dept. of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
  6. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States). Dept. of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States). Natural Resource Ecology Lab.
  7. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; SC0010568; 1255228
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Molecular Ecology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 0962-1083
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY Climate; Molecular biology; Ecosystems; boreal forest; climate change; genomics; microbiome; shrubs; tundra