TitleMicrobiome structure and functional potential in permafrost soils of the Western Canadian Arctic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsVarsadiya, M, Urich, T, Hugelius, G, Bárta, J
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
KeywordsArctic, climate change, gene abundance, microbial community, Permafrost, VEGETATION

Substantial amounts of topsoil organic matter (OM) in Arctic Cryosols have been translocated by the process of cryoturbation into deeper soil horizons (cryoOM), reducing its decomposition. Recent Arctic warming deepens the Cryosols´ active layer, making more topsoil and cryoOM carbon accessible for microbial transformation. To quantify bacteria, archaea and selected microbial groups (methanogens – mcrA gene and diazotrophs – nifH gene) and to investigate bacterial and archaeal diversity, we collected 83 soil samples from four different soil horizons of three distinct tundra types located in Qikiqtaruk (Hershel Island, Western Canada). In general, the abundance of bacteria and diazotrophs decreased from topsoil to permafrost, but not for cryoOM. No such difference was observed for archaea and methanogens. CryoOM was enriched with oligotrophic (slow-growing microorganism) taxa capable of recalcitrant OM degradation. We found distinct microbial patterns in each tundra type: topsoil from wet-polygonal tundra had the lowest abundance of bacteria and diazotrophs, but the highest abundance of methanogens. Wet-polygonal tundra, therefore, represented a hotspot for methanogenesis. Oligotrophic and copiotrophic (fast-growing microorganism) genera of methanogens and diazotrophs were distinctly distributed in topsoil and cryoOM, resulting in different rates of nitrogen flux into these horizons affecting OM vulnerability and potential CO2 and CH4 release.