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MERGE: Microbiological and Ecological Responses to Global Environmental Change

We will study the responses of the terrestrial, aquatic and glacial communities of organisms, including the microbes, at both poles to global environmental changes. Our key questions include (a) diversity and biogeography, (b) food webs and ecosystem evolution, and (c) links between biological, chemical, and physical processes in icy ecosystems. This is a huge collaboration involving 17 nations and a wide range of field work.

Global environmental change causes large climatic variations at the polar regions. To study their impact on the living communities, we need to:

1) know which organisms are living there now and which ones were present in the past.

2) know how the organisms function and interact between themselves and with the environment

3) know more about the glacial ecosystems that develop on and in the ice and about the processes to which they participate.