About this Research Topic
In recent years Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine regions have experienced the highest rates of warming worldwide. In Arctic and Alpine environments these phenomena are resulting in an increase of the duration of ice-free periods and an overall greening of terrestrial areas; the effects of warming on microbial decomposition of vast carbon pools in permafrost soils have the potential to cause a significant positive feedback to global climate change.
Climate change in Antarctica, is firstly feared to result in the loss of unique and highly adapted ecosystems, mainly because of shifts in temperature and precipitation regimes, as well as longer term changes in edaphic profiles and the invasion of allochthonous, more competitive species. Soil microbes mediate carbon and nitrogen balance and other biogeochemical cycles of global importance. Therefore, understanding the diversity of soil microbes, their role in the functioning of ecosystems, the ecological drivers that shape microbial communities may be a key for understanding how biogeochemical cycles will respond to large-scale environmental and climatic changes. Given the key role of microorganisms in maintaining the balance of these environments, they could be viewed both as sentinels and amplifiers of global change.
We welcome Original Research papers and Reviews about diversity and functionality of soil microbial communities of polar and alpine environments, their interactions with the other biotic components of the soil ecosystem and the aboveground plant coverage, the abiotic factors determinant for the colonization of these environments, and their response and adaptation abilities to stress conditions and environmental changes.
In a broader context, we hope your work will give a significant contribution to the long-standing debate on to the soil microbes multiple roles in ecosystems functioning.
Keywords: Soil ecology, Terrestrial ecosystems, Biotic interactions, Abiotic factors, Climate change, Polar soils, Alpine soils
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