Neslihan Taş, a research scientist with the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area who is affiliated with the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division, is studying how microbial processes shift as arctic permafrost melts. She’s working with the BSISB team to leverage infrared tools to reveal new patterns in biogeochemical cycles.
Numerous Biosciences Area personnel are among the 2021 Berkeley Lab Director’s Awards honorees. This annual program recognizes outstanding contributions by employees to all facets of Lab activities. A complete list of winners can be found here. The 10th annual Director’s Awards ceremony will take place on November 18 at noon.
As the Arctic continues to warm at about twice the rate of the rest of the world, scientists expect its frozen soils—known as permafrost—to thaw, activating microbes capable of decomposing soil and releasing carbons and other nutrients to the atmosphere and water. Berkeley Lab scientists in the Earth and Environmental Systems Area (EESA), led by microbial ecologist Neslihan Taş, set out to learn more about how Arctic soil microbes can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions under a warming climate. Taş’s research team collaborated with Susannah Tringe, Deputy for User Programs at the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), to conduct their study, funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER). The results were published in Nature Communications.
The Earth Microbiome Project is a massively collaborative effort to characterize all microbial life on the planet. Representing Berkeley Lab, Eric Dubinsky, a guest scientist working with Gary Andersen in EGSB, as well as Neslihan Tas and Shi Wang in the Climate & Ecosystems Science Division (EESA), were among the more than 300 scientists from 161 institutions worldwide to participate in the project. Dubinsky contributed 124 soil samples and metadata he collected from Hawaii. A meta-analysis of all the microbial community samples collected thus far was published Nov. 1 in Nature. This multi-scale reference database gives global context to DNA sequence data and provides a framework for incorporating data from future studies.