Fungal relative abundances from root tips of mycorrhizal shrubs and soils of the permafrost boundary and soil chemistry in tussock and shrub tundra, Eight Mile Lake, Alaska

  • Rebecca E. Hewitt (Creator)
  • M. Rae DeVan (Creator)
  • Irina V. Lagutina (Creator)
  • D. Lee Taylor (Creator)
  • Michelle Mack (Creator)



About 1,700 petagrams (Pg) of organic carbon (C) reside in the permafrost soils and sediments of Arctic and Boreal regions. Because this stock is more than twice the size of the atmospheric C pool, there is considerable interest in understanding how the C balance of permafrost ecosystems will respond to observed and predicted climate warming. As permafrost soils thaw, organic matter that has been cryogenically protected for hundreds to thousands of years is exposed to microbial decomposition and released to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases. One key factor that may strongly influence C balance in these ecosystems is the concurrent release of nitrogen (N), the element most likely to limit plant productivity. Release of N at or after thaw could increase plant N availability, stimulate plant C uptake and offset or balance permafrost C emissions. Although scientists acknowledge the key role N is likely to play in the permafrost C feedback to climate, there have been few empirical studies of the factors that control its fate in warming permafrost ecosystems. The objective of this project is to develop a mechanistic understanding of the role of permafrost N in the C balance of Alaskan tundra landscapes underlain by permafrost soils. The project focuses on plant acquisition of permafrost N because in most N-limited terrestrial ecosystems, plant uptake is the dominant fate of N released by microbial processes. Plants depend on fungal partners to access N beyond the reach of roots, so this research will also focus on plant mycorrhizal status and fungal community composition to elucidate the role fungal symbionts play in plant N acquisition. This dataset includes 1) relative abundaces of fungal taxa sampled from the root tips of mycorrhizal shrubs by depth in the active layer and soils at the permafrost thaw boundary and 2) soil chemistry matched with the closest fungal depth increment in tussock and shrub tundra at Eight Mile Lake, Alaska. Fungal sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS2) region are archived under GenBank accession MN151409-MN152926.
Date made available2019
PublisherUC Santa Barbara

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