Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Colorado U. Study Shows Increase In Fungal Metabolism Under The Snow

Date:
September 5, 2003
Source:
University Of Colorado At Boulder
Summary:
A new University of Colorado at Boulder study has shown that microbes living under the tundra snow pack ramp up their populations in late winter, a finding with implications for changing estimates of carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere.

A new University of Colorado at Boulder study has shown that microbes living under the tundra snow pack ramp up their populations in late winter, a finding with implications for changing estimates of carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere.

Related Articles


According to CU-Boulder Professor Steve Schmidt, the abundance of microbes under the snow -- primarily previously unknown groups of fungi-- is at its highest in the late winter months, breaking down organic and inorganic material and recycling carbon and nitrogen. "This is important because these microbes may increase the release of CO2 into the atmosphere and could change estimates of carbon fluctuation on Earth," he said.

The results are prompting a reevaluation by scientists of whether snow-covered regions can act as "sinks," or storage areas, for CO2, he said.

A paper on the subject by Schmidt, Christopher Schadt and Andrew Martin from CU-Boulder and David Lipson from San Diego State University will appear in the Sept. 5 issue of Science magazine.

About 40 percent of Earth's terrestrial environment is covered by snow for varying lengths of time in the winter months, said Schmidt, a professor in the ecology and evolutionary biology department who led the study. "The amount of microbial activity is probably very high in places like Canada, Alaska and Siberia that have enormous amounts of snow pack over large areas for extended periods."

In analyzing the cold tundra soil on Niwot Ridge west of Boulder, the researchers discovered several major new groups of fungi using sophisticated DNA sequencing methods, he said. "An abundance of previously unknown fungi that are active beneath the snow substantially broadens our understanding of both the diversity and biogeochemical functioning of fungi in cold environments," the researchers wrote in Science.

The types of fungi and other microbes under the snow in winter and spring on Niwot Ridge are different than microorganisms found in the cold soils during the summer months, said Schmidt. "Microbes produce many generations over the course of a year, and the winter microbes probably either go dormant or die during the summer," he said.

Located just east of the Continental Divide at elevations from roughly 10,000 feet to 12,000 feet, Niwot Ridge is the only long-term alpine and sub-alpine study site on the continent.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and administered by CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, Niwot Ridge is one of only 20 sites in North America designated as a Long-Term Ecological Research site. Niwot Ridge encompasses several thousand acres of tundra, talus slopes, glacial lakes and wetlands.

"The presence of previously unknown, higher order lineages of fungi in tundra soils suggests that the cold, snow-covered soils may be an underappreciated repository of biological diversity," the researchers wrote in Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Colorado At Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Colorado At Boulder. "New Colorado U. Study Shows Increase In Fungal Metabolism Under The Snow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030905073201.htm>.
University Of Colorado At Boulder. (2003, September 5). New Colorado U. Study Shows Increase In Fungal Metabolism Under The Snow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030905073201.htm
University Of Colorado At Boulder. "New Colorado U. Study Shows Increase In Fungal Metabolism Under The Snow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030905073201.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins