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Title: Multi-omics of Permafrost, Active Layer and Thermokarst Bog Soil Microbiomes

Over 20% of Earth’s terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost with vast stores of carbon that, if thawed may represent the largest future transfer of C from the biosphere to the atmosphere 1. This process is largely dependent on microbial responses, but we know little about microbial activity in intact, let alone in thawing permafrost. Molecular approaches have recently revealed the identities and functional gene composition of microorganisms in some permafrost soils 2-4 and a rapid shift in functional gene composition during short-term thaw experiments 3. However, the fate of permafrost C depends on climatic, hydrologic, and microbial responses to thaw at decadal scales 5, 6. Here the combination of several molecular “omics” approaches enabled us to determine the phylogenetic composition of the microbial community, including several draft genomes of novel species, their functional potential and activity in soils representing different states of thaw: intact permafrost, seasonally thawed active layer and thermokarst bog. The multi-omics strategy revealed a good correlation of process rates to omics data for dominant processes, such as methanogenesis in the bog, as well as novel survival strategies for potentially active microbes in permafrost.
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Publication Date:
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nature, 521(7551):208-212
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
carbon sequestration, pnnl, fcsd, pacific northwest national laboratory, microbial activity, climate change