Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Chinese Version)


cryosphere; microbes; climate change

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The cryosphere is one of the biomes on Earth. In recent years, studies on microorganisms in cold habitats has been mainly focused on the Earth's cryosphere, including glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, lake ice, and permafrost. Most of the microbial groups harboring in cryosphere are cold-adapted microbes, many of which are still unknown. Psychrophiles are important strategy resources in the fields of scientific research and low temperature biotechnology. The cryosphere also seals many unknown ancient pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and virus to animals, plants, and human beings. The cold habitats and harsh conditions in the cryosphere shape the diverse microbial populations that pose unique adaptability for survival in such extreme environments. Since highly sensitive to climate changes, the cryosphere is changing as indicated by the retreat of glaciers and ice sheets as well as permafrost thawing under global warming. The habitats where the microbes of cryosphere survive on are shrinking. The release of these microbes from the cryosphere, such as the glacier and ice retreat and permafrost thawing, might be a great threat to human society. Additionally, frozen ecosystems are also of much interest as analogues of extraterrestrial habitats. Therefore, a deeply understanding of the role and potential of microbial life in cryosphere habitats has become crucial.

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Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences


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