Microbial diversity and functional capacity in polar soils

Thulani Peter Makhalanyane, Marc Warwick Van Goethem, Don Arthur Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Global change is disproportionately affecting cold environments (polar and high elevation regions), with potentially negative impacts on microbial diversity and functional processes. In most cold environments the combination of low temperatures, and physical stressors, such as katabatic wind episodes and limited water availability result in biotic systems, which are in trophic terms very simple and primarily driven by microbial communities. Metagenomic approaches have provided key insights on microbial communities in these systems and how they may adapt to stressors and contribute towards mediating crucial biogeochemical cycles. Here we review, the current knowledge regarding edaphic-based microbial diversity and functional processes in Antarctica, and the Artic. Such insights are crucial and help to establish a baseline for understanding the impact of climate change on Polar Regions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


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