Effect of Land Use on Global Warming: Characterization of Methane Oxidizing Populations in Soils Exhibiting High and Low Methane Consumption RatesEPA Grant Number: FP916430
Title: Effect of Land Use on Global Warming: Characterization of Methane Oxidizing Populations in Soils Exhibiting High and Low Methane Consumption Rates
Investigators: Levine, Uri Y.
Institution: Michigan State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $108,609
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Microbiology , Biology/Life Sciences
At the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Hickory Corners, MI (a National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research site in agroecosystems), the rate of methane oxidation is, on average, five times higher in forested sites than in cropped sites. Methane oxidation is mediated microbially by methanotrophs, and therefore, it is logical to hypothesize that the variations in the observed methane oxidation rates are a result of differing methanotroph communities between the cropped and forested sites. In addition, carbon dioxide emission rates vary between experimental plots, and the amount of release is dependent upon the nature of the microbial community. The objectives of this research are to: (1) identify the active methanotrophs at cropped and forested sites at KBS and (2) determine how the distribution of methanotroph and heterotrophic bacteria varies between sites.
The approaches that will be used to achieve these objectives include the use of a culture independent technique, stable isotope probing, to identify the microbes involved in methane oxidation. Once the active methanotrophs have been identified, the next steps will be to devise culture strategies to obtain pure culture isolates of the active community. Then, to determine the sites’ microbial community structure, 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes will be used to quantify environmental abundance, and fluorescent in situ hybridization will be utilized to determine the niche utilization. All of these experiments will provide an understanding behind the observed differences in methane oxidation and carbon dioxide emission between experimental sites.