Microbiomes as sentinels of a changing Arctic

Among the life forms that live in Arctic environments, microorganisms are the major contributors to nutrient and energy cycles, biodiversity and biomass. Microbial processes underpin Arctic food webs. Therefore, understanding their dynamics and interactions is vital to understanding the ecology of the biome as a whole, especially considering the rapid warming in this region. Although the impact of climate change on microbial communities remains unclear, the unique microbial ecosystems associated with fragile Arctic environments such as glaciers, ice-covered seas and permafrost will surely be adversely affected. Changes in microbial communities can ripple throughout food webs and alter the availability and quality of resources collected by Northerners on the land, directly impacting their microbiomes. Therefore, the response of microbial communities to warming will impact not only ecosystem health but also human health. This session aims to advance our understanding of environmental and human microbiomes and how they interact and overlap in the context of a rapidly changing Arctic.




Catherine Girard, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

Alexander Culley, Université Laval