EU - Horizon2020 - ERC - Advanced Grant :Novel niches for anaerobic methane oxidation and their biogeochemical sigificance

Project: Research

Project Details


Motivated by a series of recent discoveries, NOVAMOX provides the first comprehensive biogeochemical and microbial
ecological analysis of methane consumption in anoxic freshwater systems and oceanic oxygen minimum zones,
environments where such processes to date were largely ignored. I propose that anaerobic microbial methane oxidation
pathways are important sinks in for methane in these environments, thereby affecting methane emissions and the cycling of
nitrogen, iron, and sulfur, as the cycling of these elements is coupled either directly or indirectly to methane oxidation. With
the development of new incubation and sensing techniques necessary to detect the processes in their environment, we will
identify and quantify active pathways of anaerobic methane oxidation, identify the organisms that catalyse these
transformations, analyse their environmental distribution, characterize kinetic controls of their growth and metabolic activity,
and analyse the isotopic signatures they may leave behind. The project will generate robust estimates of the biogeochemical
significance of anaerobic methane oxidation in these overlooked niches, and provide a quantitative mechanistic framework
for analysis of the role of these processes in Earth’s biogeochemical evolution as well as for their implementation in
forecasts of global change. The project will also provide fundamental new insights to the ecology of the highly specialized
microorganisms involved in methane oxidation, for use in potential biotechnological applications.
Effective start/end date01/10/201630/09/2021