How soil microorganisms respond to global warming is a key question in microbial ecology and eminently relevant for soil ecosystems, the terrestrial carbon cycle, and the climate system. Microorganisms are responsible for the degradation of soil organic C (SOC) and the subsequent emission of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, to the atmosphere. Thus, microbial responses to global warming will determine how much carbon is released from soils in a warmer future.

Within the international ForHot collaboration we aim at revealing basic physiological and cellular responses of soil microorganisms to global (long-term) warming and their consequences on the microbial control of the terrestrial carbon cycle, which are currently poorly understood.


(Picture: Mathilde Borg Dahl)





Mathilde Borg Dahl, Andrea Söllinger, Páll Sigurðsson, Ivan Janssens, Josep Peñuelas, Bjarni D. Sigurdsson, Andreas Richter, Alexander Tveit, and Tim Urich published an article: Long-term warming-induced trophic downgrading in the soil microbial food web. 2023. Soil Biology and Biochemistry

Andrea Söllinger, Joana Séneca, Mathilde Borg Dahl, Liabo L. Motleleng, Judith Prommer, Erik Verbruggen, Bjarni D. Sigurdsson, Ivan Janssens, Josep Peñuelas, Tim Urich, Andreas Richter, Alexander T. TveitDown-regulation of the bacterial protein biosynthesis machinery in response to weeks, years, and decades of soil warming. 2022. Science Advances 

Joana Séneca, Andrea Söllinger, Craig W. Herbold, Petra Pjevac, Judith Prommer, Erik Verbruggen, Bjarni D. Sigurdsson, Josep Peñuelas, Ivan A. Janssens, Tim Urich, Alexander T. Tveit, Andreas Richter. Increased microbial expression of organic nitrogen cycling genes in long-term warmed grassland soils. 2021. ISME Communications


Public Outreach:

Our Science Advances publication has been featured by national and international news outlets including, The Scientist, and Scientific American (Arabic edition). Read here the accompanying UiT article by Charlotte Stark: Global oppvarming tvinger jordbakterier til å gå ned i vekt.


Key collaborators:

  • Bjarni Sigurdsson - Agricultural University of Iceland 
  • Andreas Richter - University of Vienna
  • Mathilde Borg Dahl - University of Greifswald
  • Tim Urich - University of Greifswald
  • Anne Daebeler - Biology Centre CAS, České Budějovice


Former members, involveld students, and staff:

  • Liabo Motleleng (Principal Engineer)
  • Eva Marie Breines (Chief Engineer)
  • Thea Ramona Olsen (Bachelor student)


Financial/grant information:

Tromsø Research Foundation (TSF) - 17_SG_ATT

To continue, a proposal has been submitted in March, 2023 to the Research Council of Norway: SHRINK – Is Global Warming Shrinking Soil Microorganisms (under evaluation)





Last update: May, 2023