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Journal Article

Carbon‐cycling microorganisms in permafrost and their responses to a warming climate: A review


Yang,  Sizhong
3.7 Geomicrobiology, 3.0 Geochemistry, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Wen,  Xi
External Organizations;

Wu,  Tonghua
External Organizations;

Wu,  Xiaodong
External Organizations;

Wang,  Xiaoming
External Organizations;

Jin,  Xiaoying
External Organizations;

Li,  Xiaoying
External Organizations;

Yang,  Xue
External Organizations;

Yang,  Ling
External Organizations;

Wang,  Hongwei
External Organizations;

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Yang, S., Wen, X., Wu, T., Wu, X., Wang, X., Jin, X., Li, X., Yang, X., Yang, L., Wang, H. (2024): Carbon‐cycling microorganisms in permafrost and their responses to a warming climate: A review. - Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 35, 2, 218-231.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5025552
Global climate warming is accelerating permafrost degradation. The large amounts of soil organic matter in permafrost-affected soils are prone to increased microbial decomposition in a warming climate. Along with permafrost degradation, changes to the soil microbiome play a crucial role in enhancing our understanding and in predicting the feedback of permafrost carbon. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge of carbon-cycling microbial ecology in permafrost regions. Microbiomes in degrading permafrost exhibit variations across spatial and temporal scales. Among the short-term, rapid degradation scenarios, thermokarst lakes have distinct biogeochemical conditions promoting emission of greenhouse gases. Additionally, extreme climatic events can trigger drastic changes in microbial consortia and activity. Notably, environmental conditions appear to exert a dominant influence on microbial assembly in permafrost ecosystems. Furthermore, as the global climate is closely connected to various permafrost regions, it will be crucial to extend our understanding beyond local scales, for example by conducting comparative and integrative studies between Arctic permafrost and alpine permafrost on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau at global and continental scales. These comparative studies will enhance our understanding of microbial functioning in degrading permafrost ecosystems and help inform effective strategies for managing and mitigating the impacts of climate change on permafrost regions.