Microbial Activity in Thawing Arctic Permafrost
Meet the Team
Teacher - Jim Miller
Jim Miller grew up on the family farm outside of Sandusky, Ohio. He credits his family and the opportunity to explore the outdoors on the farm for his curiosity and passion for nature. Mr. Miller received his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from Allegheny College, his teaching certificate from Ashland University, and is currently working towards his Master's degree by participating in the Global Field Master's Program (Project Dragonfly) through Miami University. Mr. Miller has been teaching Biology and Natural Studies at Cleveland Heights High School for the last five years. At Heights, Mr. Miller is involved in extracurricular activities as Head Swim Coach and Academic Challenge Advisor. In his free time, Mr. Miller enjoys traveling (having visited Scotland, South Africa, Namibia, Costa Rica, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Canada), photography, watching movies, going to concerts, cards and games, downhill skiing, reading, and spending time on Kelleys Island.
Researcher - David Lipson
David Lipson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University. His research interests include soil microbial ecology, plant-microbe interactions, and linking microbial diversity to ecosystem processes.
Researcher - Lars Angenent
Lars Angenent is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. His research interests include the conversion of organic waste into bioenergy, the development of biosensors, photobioreactors and bioaerosols, and the creation of biocomputing devices that are based on microbial electrochemical technologies. Learn more about Dr. Angenent's research at his faculty webpage [http://angenent.bee.cornell.edu/DrLarsAngenent.html]
Researcher - Ted Raab
Researcher - Elliot Friedman
Where are They?
The team will be working at five different field sites which are part of the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO). The Observatory is located near the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC) where the team will live and conduct lab work. BASC is just outside the community of Barrow, Alaska. Barrow is located on Alaska’s North Slope near the shoreline of the Arctic Ocean. Barrow is a small community of approximately 4,500 people. The climate is arctic, with the daily minimum temperature dropping below freezing 300 days a year. The community is primarily inhabited by Inupiat Eskimos, and it is only accessible by airplane.
What are they Doing?
Underlying the northern arctic coast of Alaska is a thick layer of permafrost. As water melts and pools on top of the permafrost, thaw lakes are formed. There are many thaw lakes on the North Slope of Alaska. As they decompose organic material, the bacteria and other microorganisms living in thaw lakes produce methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas, and increased microbial activity in thawing permafrost areas could lead to changes in the atmosphere due to the release of methane.
Microbial activity in thaw lakes is not very well understood. This research is important for better understanding how microbial activities affect the biogeochemical cycle, or the way specific chemicals move through living and non-living processes on Earth. This information can help scientists make better predictions about changes in the Earth’s climate.
To collect their data, the research team will combine research methods from biology, ecology, and biotechnology. They will collect data in the field including soil cores, thaw depth, water table depth, and dissolved oxygen measurements. Additionally they will monitor bacterial respiration and conduct related lab experiments.
|Jim Miller and Microbial Activity in Thawing Permafrost||14 July 2011||Private PolarConnect Event held between PolarTREC Teacher Jim Miller, researcher Elliot Friedman,...||Event|
|Cleveland Heights High School science teacher set for polar research expedition in Alaska||17 June 2011||Online article about Jim Miller heading to Barrow, Alaska.||Article|