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Life at its Extremes: Biodiversity and Activity of Microorganisms in deep Permafrost

Objective

BioFrost will offer the unique opportunity to descend to the frozen depths of Earth, into permafrost, and study the microbial life as it carries on in an unhospitable, (almost-)inhabitable, environment where temperatures are far below zero and no oxygen is available. Supported by a highly sensitive experimental approach based on the use of stable isotope probing combined with Next Generation Sequencing, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry and nanoSIMS, this research will trace active microorganisms in deep permafrost and will reveal their abundances and taxonomic identities together with the biologically-induced chemical processes that modify the surrounding environment and make it ´more habitable´. This study will also address one of the most significant new concepts of modern microbiology, the heterogeneity of single microbial cells, and will assess the role of it in the context of the ecosystem´s overall functioning.
This project is for microbiologists and environmental scientists, who want to expand their knowledge on microbial biodiversity and activity in the coldest regions of Earth. It is also for space and planetary scientists, who are preparing for upcoming missions to Mars´ permafrost in search of signatures of life. It is for environmental policy makers to promote consciousness of a hidden subsurface ecosystem that can impact critically on us at the surface. Most of all, I hope this Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSC) project will meet anyone curious about life at its extremes.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator

HELMHOLTZ ZENTRUM POTSDAM DEUTSCHESGEOFORSCHUNGSZENTRUM GFZ

Address

Telegrafenberg 17
14473 Potsdam

Germany

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 171 460,80

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 657473

  • Start date

    1 April 2015

  • End date

    26 June 2018

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 171 460,80

  • EU contribution

    € 171 460,80

Coordinated by:

HELMHOLTZ ZENTRUM POTSDAM DEUTSCHESGEOFORSCHUNGSZENTRUM GFZ

Germany