Mo Bio Wins 3rd Prize on Glaciers and Ice-sheet Microbial Processes in Glacial Systems

Glaciers and ice-sheets are neglected but vital microbial habitats. Microbial processes in glacial systems act as "sentinels and amplifiers" of climate change impacts on glacial systems, thus ice-microbe interactions assume importance on both societally-relevant and evolutionary timescales. Nevertheless, beyond high-profile, high-stakes endeavours to access subglacial lakes, the diversity and interactions of glacial microbiomes is poorly investigated.

This project exploits a confluence of opportunities to capture the endangered microbiomes of glacial systems worldwide. The applicant is embarked on fieldwork on glaciers ranging on a latitudinal gradient from 78*N to 54*S as part of several projects scheduled July 2014-January 2015, thus permitting microbial habitats from a broad range of glacial systems to be systematically sampled for amplicon sequencing as part of the Earth Microbiome Project (EMP).

The project addresses the hypothesis that glacial microbiomes act as bioindicators of changing conditions in glacial systems, and will provide samples and data for inclusion in the EMP. These outcomes, coupled with outreach activity, will help re-cast the discourse pertaining to the consequences of glacier loss as endangering microbial biodiversity as well as raising sea levels or affecting food and water security.

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