OU researchers awarded $3M DOE grant to determine effects of climate change on two ecosystems

October 18, 2010

To better understand the effects of climate change on the microbial communities of two important ecosystems--the temperate grasslands in Oklahoma and the tundra in Alaska, a University of Oklahoma research group has been awarded a $3 million Department of Energy grant.

According to Jizhong Zhou, OU professor of botany and microbiology and director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics, the results of these studies could potentially contribute to the formation of U.S. policy on climate change.

OU researchers believe that understanding the responses, adaptations and feedback mechanisms of biological communities to climate change is critical to project future state of earth and climate systems. There is significant knowledge of above ground communities, but little is known about below ground microbial communities because of challenges with the analysis of soil structure and functions.

Studies in the two contrasting ecosystems will help researchers determine the diversity of microbial communities, temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter at both fields and microbial community structure in response to climate change. OU researchers will use the award-winning GeoChip technology in the analysis, but new network and modeling approaches for data integration, synthesis and prediction will be developed.

These studies will significantly advance the field of microbial ecology with knowledge of microbial community diversity, structure and distributions at the two ecosystems, and responses to climate change and relationships to ecosystem functioning. Also, the development of new experimental and mathematical tools will enhance capabilities for integrating and synthesizing metagenomics data.
-end-


University of Oklahoma

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.