Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Microbes active in Colorado snows fuel tundra ecosystem

05.09.2003


Populations of fungi blanketed by Colorado’s snows are more active and diverse than previously thought, and are likely responsible for the productivity of the tundra ecosystem they are a part of, according to findings by scientists funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) and Microbial Observatories programs. The researchers have published their results in this week’s issue of the journal Science.


"Microbial-level investigations are integral to developing an overall understanding of the alpine ecology at Niwot Ridge LTER site in the Colorado front range."
Photo by Timothy Seastedt, Niwot LTER



Christopher Schadt, now of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and a former graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said "the discovery should help scientists gain greater insight into decomposition rates, carbon cycles and the roles of individual fungi in those processes." Surprisingly, the number of active microorganisms in tundra soils, for at least the top 10 centimeters, (about four inches) peaks when the soils are covered with snow. Schadt and colleagues performed their research at the Niwot Ridge, Colo., LTER site. Niwot Ridge is located some 12,000 feet atop the Rocky Mountains.

"The finding that microorganisms are interacting with tundra soils to a great extent highlights the important role of the snowpack in creating a unique and crucial environment in tundra ecosystems in Colorado and likely in other locations that are covered with snow for long periods of time in winter," said Henry Gholz, LTER program director at NSF.


Metabolism of snow-covered microbes is an important biogeochemical "sink," or way of storing, nitrogen. "The subsequent release in spring of nitrogen from the microbes’ metabolism is a major contributor to the relatively high productivity during the short growing season in the tundra," said Steven Schmidt of the University of Colorado at Boulder, a co-author of the Science paper, and leader of the research team.

Schadt, Schmidt, and colleagues Andrew Martin of the University of Colorado and David Lipson of San Diego State University also found that fungi account for most of the biomass of the tundra, which undergoes significant seasonal changes. The researchers discovered that about 40 percent of the fungi in their samples were previously unknown. DNA sequencing enabled them to identify fungi that may hold answers to other questions about the tundra ecology in Colorado and in other locations around the world.

Cheryl Dybas | NSF
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>