24/11/2017 Substantial funding for cold loving bacteria research

Alexander Tøsdal Tveit will be contributing to the new direction of CAGE-microbial research. Photo: Lars Åke Andersen

Tromsø Research Foundation, has granted millions in funds to two projects important for CAGE: An infrastructure grant for cold loving bacteria laboratory and a starting grant for a project by Alexander Tøsdal Tveit.

Text: Maja Sojtaric

The two projects are a collaboration between CAGE and Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

The projects are connected and will play an important role in our understanding of bacteria associated with methane in the Arctic.

“The new lab facility will make us able to conduct experiments on methane associated bacteria in a consistently cold, and controlled environment. The infrastructure is quite unique. It will among other things make it possible for us to look at how fast microbes respond to methane at the highest level of resolution – genomes, gene expression and biochemistry.” says Mette Marianne Svenning, work package leader at CAGE and professor in microbiology.

Mette Svenning, Alexander T. Tveit. Photo: Maja Sojtaric

Mette Svenning and Andreas Tøsdal Tveit at the reception for the Tromsø Research Foundation. Photo: Maja Sojtaric

CAGE was awarded 1,3 million NOK to build up the lab facility.

Alexander Tøsdal Tveit was awarded a substantial starting grant (24 million NOK) from the foundation for his project: Cells in the cold. The project is closely related to the new lab.

Complex networks of tiny organisms

Fragile and complex networks of microorganisms control the release of greenhouse gases such as methane from land and sea floor. But climate changes can destabilize those networks, which can result in increase of natural release of methane into the atmosphere.

The methane concentrations have been increasing rapidly since 2006 and 40 percent of the release is from natural sources, which are complex systems that are not well understood.

The aim of Tveit’s project is to look into networks of methane associated bacteria in peat lands and sub seabed methane seeps in the Arctic.

“Earth is a big network of microorganisms that allow larger organisms to live. Small increases in Earth’s temperatures may have profound effects on the Earth’s microbiota. I want to look at what happens to the microorganisms when the temperature on our planet increases.” says Tveit.

Mette Marianne Svenning says she is excited for the future direction of the biology research at CAGE and the strengthening of Arctic microbial ecology at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

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