Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are among a team of scientists embarking on an ambitious new project to understand climate change in the Arctic. Geologist Susan Hubbard says the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment will look at the whole system, starting at the microbial level, to understand how permafrost conditions will change with warming.
Hubbard: There's huge questions out there; under warming, will we see more vegetation growth that takes up the CO2? Or will we get more microbial degradation of the organic carbon which gives off CO2?
Narrator: In addition to measuring carbon decomposition and greenhouse gas emission, the project will take a unique look at what kinds of microbes make up the permafrost ecosystem.
Hubbard: This is something that Department of Energy brings to this project that I think is really novel — not only understanding what microorganisms are there and how they might change — but what are they expressing? What's their genomic basis and how might that genomic signature change or how resilient is it to climate change?
Narrator: For Science Today I'm Larissa Branin.