(Ecosystem Interactions in the Arctic)

In high Arctic peatlands organic matter is slowly decomposed by large and complex microbial communities. In the upper few centimeters of soil, aerobic microorganisms are degrading fresh organic matter deposited by mosses, grasses, and other vascular plants to form CO2.

We study the effect of altered plant vegetation on the microbiota responsible for aerobic decomposition in high Arctic peatlands. Plant populations are driven by changes in herbivore populations and our preliminary results suggest that the microbial food web in the upper soil layer is substantially affected by changes in the plant cover. Thus, our studies link above- and below-ground ecology. Our main objective is to identify how above-ground ecology alters microbial food webs and which consequences this has to aerobic carbon cycling in high-Arctic peatlands. 


*Page under construction* *More content will follow* (Picture: Mette M. Svenning)



Former members: Edda M. Rainer



Edda M. RainerResponse and resilience of the microbial methane filter to ecosystem changes in Arctic peatlands.  2022. PhD Thesis

Edda M. RainerChristophe V.W. Seppey, Caroline Hammer, Mette M. SvenningAlexander T. TveitThe Influence of Above-Ground Herbivory on the Response of Arctic Soil Methanotrophs to Increasing CH4 Concentrations and Temperatures. 2021. Microorganism

Kathrin M. BenderMette M. Svenning, Yuntao Hu, Andreas Richter, Julia Schückel, Bodil Jørgensen, Susanne Liebner, Alexander T. TveitMicrobial responses to herbivory-induced vegetation changes in a high-Arctic peatland. 2021. Polar Biology

Edda M. RainerChristophe V.W. SeppeyAlexander T. TveitMette M. Svenning. Methanotroph populations and CH4 oxidation potentials in high-Arctic peat are altered by herbivory induced vegetation change. 2020. FEMS Microbiology Ecology


Maarten Loonen - University of Groningen

Andreas Richter - University of Vienna

Financial/grant information:

Tromsø Research Foundation (TSF) - 17_SG_ATT





Last update: August, 2022