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Microbial fluxes of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) in karst ecosystems: comprehensive assessment and biogeochemical modelling

Project description

Karst microbiota contribution to the global carbon cycle

Karst ecosystems are considered fast sinks of atmospheric methane (CH4) or alternative sources for CO2. Advanced research suggests that microbial action may play a central role in CO2 and CH4 uptake, fixation or production and also determine alterations of principal budgets of greenhouse gases in karst ecosystems. The EU-funded MIFLUKE project will develop a biogeochemical model of microbial processes to clarify the role of karst microbiota in the principal greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4). The project’s findings will shed new light on the exact contribution of karst ecosystems to the global carbon cycle, thus also addressing the EU priority of climate action established by the Horizon 2020 programme.

Objective

The assessment of carbon cycle in the Earth-climate system is one the highest challenge in science nowadays. It still remains some key knowledge gaps and uncertainties concerning the budgets of greenhouse gases (GHGs) at ecosystem scale and the key role of microbial communities. Karst ecosystems cover up to 25 % of the land surface and they are acting as rapid CH4 sink and as alternately CO2 source or sink. Pioneer results point to microbial action must be playing a crucial role in CO2 and CH4 uptake, fixation or production and maybe determining the strong variations of these major GHGs in karst ecosystems.
MIFLUKE will elucidate, for the first time, the role of karst microbiota in the main GHGs -CO2 and CH4- content and fluxes in underground vadose atmospheres, as a key challenge to clarify the accurate effective contribution of karst ecosystems to the global carbon cycle. By applying an innovative and multidisciplinary combination of a broad suite of advanced tools and cutting-edge technologies from very different research areas -GHGs flux monitoring, isotopic geochemical tracing, biogeochemistry, metagenomics, etc.- a biogeochemical model of microbial processes will be developed. This project will combine the expertise of a multidisciplinary group of leading researchers on ecosystem functioning, GHGs and biogeochemistry modelling, with the extraordinary resources including analytical facilities and training support in PLECO (Univ. Antwerp, Belgium).
The proposal represents an exceptional opportunity the candidate to acquire the essential skills that will open new career avenues and will convert her into a highly competitive European researcher. In turn, the fellow will bring specific expertise to PLECO that will open a new and promising research field.
This proposal directly addresses the cross-cutting priority of climate action established by H2020 Work Programme and will reinforce the already large European competitiveness in GHGs research and management.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT ANTWERPEN
Net EU contribution
€ 178 320,00
Address
Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerpen
Belgium

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Region
Vlaams Gewest Prov. Antwerpen Arr. Antwerpen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00