Methane Turnover in Alpine Glacier Forefields
Prof. Dr. Martin H. Schroth, Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zürich, firstname.lastname@example.org
Glacier forefield, methanogenesis, methane oxidation, methane-oxidizing bacteria, pioneer ecosystem
Lead (Kurzzusammenfassung, 40 Worte):
As atmospheric CH4 is an important contributor to climate change, understanding CH4 turnover is crucial for global climate modeling and potential mitigation strategies. In this project we will quantitatively assess CH4 turnover in alpine glacier forefields through specifically adapted methods.
Hintergrund (100-150 Worte):
Methane (CH4) is among the most abundant greenhouse gases in the atmosphere with a significantly higher global-warming potential than CO2. The CH4 cycle is largely microbially mediated, with anaerobic methanogenic archaea responsible for CH4 production, and aerobic or anaerobic CH4 oxidizing bacteria (MOB) responsible for consumption. Little is known about CH4 turnover and MOB abundance and diversity in pioneer ecosystems such as glacier forefields. Here, a transition occurs from partially anaerobic, methanogenic subglacial sediments to largely aerobic, well-developed CH4 consuming soils in alpine meadows or forests. An initial field survey confirmed substantial CH4 production and consumption in several Swiss glacier forefields, but was limited in its scope by currently available methods to assess CH4 turnover.
Ziel (50-70 Worte):
The project’s overall goal is to quantitatively assess CH4 turnover in alpine glacier forefields through specifically adapted methods. The project will fill a gap in knowledge regarding CH4 turnover during the transformation of soils from the subglacial to the proglacial environment. This is especially valuable for evaluating potential feedback of deglaciation to climate change, and will lead to an improved understanding of colonization patterns of MOB.
Bedeutung (50-100 Worte):
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. To date, information on CH4 turnover in glacier forefields is extremely scarce. Thus, it will be important to rigorously assess the occurrence and magnitude of CH4 turnover in this environment. Effects of soil age as well as seasonal effects on CH4 turnover during the transition from an anaerobic, subglacial environment to postglacial, aerobic alpine meadows or forests are hitherto unexplored. However, changes in CH4 turnover during this transition may represent an important feedback to the climate system, in particular in light of glaciers predicted to continue their rapid retreat.