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Biology 2013, 2(1), 317-330; doi:10.3390/biology2010317

The Dynamic Arctic Snow Pack: An Unexplored Environment for Microbial Diversity and Activity

1
Environmental Microbial Genomics, CNRS, Ecole Centrale de Lyon, Université de Lyon, 36 avenue Guy de Collongue, 69134 Ecully, France
2
Université Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1 / CNRS, LGGE, 54 rue Molière BP56, F-38402 Saint Martin d'Hères, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 December 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2013 / Accepted: 14 January 2013 / Published: 5 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polar Microbiology: Recent Advances and Future Perspectives)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [159 KB, uploaded 5 February 2013]

Abstract

The Arctic environment is undergoing changes due to climate shifts, receiving contaminants from distant sources and experiencing increased human activity. Climate change may alter microbial functioning by increasing growth rates and substrate use due to increased temperature. This may lead to changes of process rates and shifts in the structure of microbial communities. Biodiversity may increase as the Arctic warms and population shifts occur as psychrophilic/psychrotolerant species disappear in favor of more mesophylic ones. In order to predict how ecological processes will evolve as a function of global change, it is essential to identify which populations participate in each process, how they vary physiologically, and how the relative abundance, activity and community structure will change under altered environmental conditions. This review covers aspects of the importance and implication of snowpack in microbial ecology emphasizing the diversity and activity of these critical members of cold zone ecosystems.
Keywords: Arctic; microbial ecology; biogeochemical cycling; snow Arctic; microbial ecology; biogeochemical cycling; snow
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Larose, C.; Dommergue, A.; Vogel, T.M. The Dynamic Arctic Snow Pack: An Unexplored Environment for Microbial Diversity and Activity. Biology 2013, 2, 317-330.

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