Cold Regions Soil Microbiology

Robyn A. Barbato

US Army ERDC- Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH


Environmental properties influence biological activity and collectively define the state of materials such as soils, snow, and ice, yet these properties are typically described through time-intensive, ground-based sampling efforts. Techniques have been developed to assess microbial community structure and function; however, questions remain regarding which environmental data are most relevant and how and to what degree their fluxes would impact the system. At the Cold Regions Lab, we investigate how microbial communities contribute to as ecosystem function, bioremediation of cold, oligotrophic soils, and ancient biodiversity in permafrost. Though molecular techniques and advanced microscopy have enabled us to describe what we cannot see with our naked eyes, we are limited in our predictions of how these communities might behave under a new dynamic state.

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