Project Leader: Dr Helen Talbot, Dr Bart van Dongen (PI, University of Manchester)
Start/end dates: 2012-2014
The Earth is warming but forecasts indicate that the fastest warming regions on the planet are close to the poles. The Eurasian Arctic, containing one of the largest carbon reservoirs on the globe trapped by permafrost, might therefore be at risk. Amplified warming could cause a general reduction of the total volume of permafrost causing the remobilization of large amounts of this trapped carbon. Led by the University of Manchester, this project will focus on the (climate induced) remobilization and degradation of the macromolecular part of the terrestrial carbon, such as polysaccharides and polypeptides. This will be achieved via analysis of the composition and age (using compound specific radiocarbon dating) of this macromolecular material allowing determination of the reservoir/residence time and to what extent (part of) this carbon is microbiologically degraded on transport via rivers. The Newcastle team will investigate the significance of organic material produced or recycled by microorganisms, including the greenhouse gas methane.