James is in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, carrying out fieldwork supported by the SIOS Access Program (CAP-BIO, SIOS-2019-0011). Our aim is to sample proglacial soils during the autumn freeze-up period as the last rays of sunshine disappear before the long Polar night, and carry out essential maintenance on the sensor equipment we installed during the summer.
The onset of autumn freeze-up limits biological activity because temperatures fall below zero, and liquid water becomes scarce. However, recent studies have shown that biological activity may persist year-round, despite the harsh environment. Nevertheless, the seasonal dynamics of Arctic soil ecosystems are barely beginning to be explored, in part because of logistical challenges associated with accessing field sites during the permanently dark period.
The results of the project will contribute to understanding the future of Arctic soils exposed by glacier retreat, and the role the long polar night plays in that future.
The CAP-BIO field team consists of James Bradley (QMUL, GFZ), Mihai Cimpoiasu and Harry Harrison (BGS), Lara Vimercati (CU Boulder).
I welcome discussions from candidates interested in applying to the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, to pursue frontier research in the UK. The scheme offers three years of salary and research costs. To be hosted by Queen Mary University of London, please start discussions early! Our internal deadline is 7 January 2022 - please get in touch to discuss project ideas and preparation of application materials.
James has been promoted to Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science. Thanks go out to great colleagues everywhere for fantastic mentoring, exciting collaborations, past and ongoing projects, and early career researchers, especially in the lab group. Lot's of exciting work ahead!
James is in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, for the first field campaign of the NSF and NERC-funded SUN SPEARS project, investigating seasonal changes in microbial communities in Arctic soils. Accelerated climate warming in the Arctic is causing significant reductions in the extent of glaciers and ice sheets. As glaciers retreat, pioneer soils are uncovered, supporting emerging microbial communities which drive biogeochemical transformations. The SUN SPEARS project will characterize the year-round soil biological, thermal and hydrological properties, to better understand the fate of emerging Arctic soils and develop continuous models of soil biogeochemical dynamics. The multi-disciplinary team are busy collecting the first sets of biological and chemical samples from Midtre Lovénbreen, and are installing several monitoring stations which include arrays of geo-electrical sensors.
James convened the session '8f Understanding the co-evolution of Earth's interior, its surface, and its microorganisms' at Goldschmidt 2021 with Dominik Hülse and Emily Zakem. Highlights included a keynote talk from Stephanie Dutkiewicz on modelling ecology and biogeochemistry in the global ocean, and an invited talk from Rui Zhao on ammonia-oxidizing archaea in marine sediments.
Congratulations to Bradley Lab PhD student Margaret Cramm who has been awarded a grant from the Earth and Space Foundation for her project: "Dispersal of life from the deep biosphere to the cryosphere". The award provides funding towards a field trip to sample an Arctic hot spring, to test the hypothesis that thermophilic organisms capable of long-term dormancy are rising from the deep hot biosphere to the cold surface biosphere in geothermal fluids.
Congratulations to Margaret and Amy who each presented excellent posters at the 2021 NHM Student Conference in London!
'How allogenic factors affect succession in glacier forefields' published in Earth Science Reviews.
Here we critically review the use of chronosequence approaches in glacier forefields, showing strong effects of initial site conditions, geomorphic disturbances and biogeomorphological processes.
Congratulations to recent PhD-graduate Robin Wojcik on leading this effort, with contributions from James, Liane Benning (GFZ Potsdam) and Jana Eichel (Utrecht University).
Link to paper: HERE.
James and Rey are in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, together with international collaborators Bartek Luks (IG PAS, Poland) and Catherine Larose (Laboratoire Ampère, Lyon, France) on the SIOS-funded project IN-SPACE. They are collecting samples from the Midtre Lovénbreen glacier catchment to look at how spring melting affects microbial community dynamics and biogeochemical cycles.