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IRES: Research Training in Climate Change Microbiology in Greenland and Denmark

General

Organisation
Project start
01.01.2015
Project end
31.12.2018
Type of project
ARMAP/NSF
Project theme
Bioscience
Project topic
Education & Outreach
Biology

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork region
Greenland, Mid-East
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 74.46666667, -20.56666667

Fieldwork start
26.07.2016
Fieldwork end
10.08.2016

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork region
Greenland, Mid-East
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 74.46666667, -20.56666667

Fieldwork start
18.07.2017
Fieldwork end
02.08.2017

SAR information

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork region
Greenland, Mid-East
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 74.46666667, -20.56666667

Fieldwork start
10.07.2018
Fieldwork end
25.07.2018

SAR information

Project details

19.02.2019
Science / project plan

.

Science / project summary
Over a three-year period, this International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program will engage two U.S. undergraduate and two U.S. graduate students annually, for a total of twelve participants, at research sites in Greenland and Denmark to study Arctic microbiology and biogeochemistry under multiple climate change scenarios. Following required training and research preparation at the University of Montana, students travel to Copenhagen for orientation and introduction to international mentors before they depart for three weeks of field work in Greenland. Throughout, students are co-mentored by William Holben, the U.S. principal investigator (PI), and a team of experts associated with the Greenlandic Center for Permafrost Studies (CENPERM), a center that is administered by the University of Copenhagen and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. Each student's research training will include experience with planning and implementing field strategies for permafrost, ice sheet, and hot spring and glacier sampling in a way that promotes student ownership of individual projects, while facilitating the integration of multiple data sets obtained throughout the duration of this IRES activity. Results are expected to contribute to what is known about thawing permafrost and accelerated microbial decomposition of large amounts of organic matter stored in Arctic ecosystems. Following each season of fieldwork and sample processing in Greenland, participants return to Copenhagen to prepare collected samples for metagenomic DNA and mRNA sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. These will be studied for patterns of microbial community change that reflect differing and changing environmental parameters. Upon returning to Montana students will continue the computational and bioinformatic aspects of their studies. Results should provide new insights into microbial community structure and activities on sheet ice and glaciers, as well as microbial biogeochemical cycling contributions to greenhouse gas emissions from permafrost soils. Over the course of this IRES program, the U.S. and CENPERM partners expect to deepen their collaboration through international teamwork, research training, and cultural interaction, as they mentor and engage a cadre of diverse students, including Native Americans, to become the next generation of climate change experts. For broader impact, all participating U.S. students will benefit from early career experience with the kind of long-term relationship, professional network and research collaboration that is increasingly necessary to address complex global ecological issues.
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