About              Consortium                Objectives              Sites               Field trips              Results                   Contact








Cave ice microbiom: metabolic diversity and activity in response to climate dynamics and anthropogenic pollution


Diversitatea şi activitatea metabolicǎ a microbiomului peşterilor de gheaţǎ ca rǎspuns la schimbǎrile climatice şi poluarea antropicǎ


Project Coordinator: Dr. CRISTINA PURCAREA


The overall interest of the project is to characterize the diversity and metabolism of total and active microcosm from cave ice, and evaluate past, present and future consequences of climate driven ice retreat and human impact on biogeochemical and ecological processes by studying temporal and spatial changes in ecosystems present in ice and glacier caves from different geographical locations, and to establish a strategic framework for multidisciplinary research in ice ecosystems, including investigation of the applicative potential of ice microcosm in nanotechnology development.


The project  focuses on 1) determining the presence and composition of active microbiota and its

metabolic diversity in perennial cave ice, an unexplored aspect of undergrsound glacial ecosystems, and its variations across ice layers of different age, by metagenomics and metatranscriptomics NGS; In addition, using a dual type of ice habitat comparative study, we will investigate 2) the effect of past and present climate variations on the functional diversity of total and active icecontained microbiota from two European ice caves and two South American glacier caves, and 3) the impact of anthropogenic polluting activities on the composition and suprametabolism of ice caves microbiom, as a model for studying current environmental changes in glacial habitats as a result of human impact. Also, 4) novel isolated icecontained strains will be screened for metal nanoparticle synthesis of broad bionanotechnological applicative potential.


Objective 1. Investigation of functional diversity and metabolic activity of cave ice microbiome from ice caves and glacier caves

1.1 Sampling of ice sediments from the ice/glacier caves (WP 1);

1.2 Metagenome and metatranscriptom reconstitutution of all ice/glacier caves using NGS (WP2, WP5)


Objective 2. Survey of past and present climate variations impact on total and active microbiome from ice caves

2.1 Past climate stable isotopebased reconstruction in cave ice (WP3);

2.2 Analysis of climate impact variations on cave ice microbiota (WP6)


Objective 3. Anthropogenic pollution impact on structural and functional diversity of cave ice microbiome

3.1 Chemical analysis of cave ice cores from all ice/glacier caves (WP4);

3.2 Identification of pollution biomarkers for the anthropogenic impact on cave ice (WP6)


Objective 4. Identification of novel psychrophilic/psychrotolerant strains of biotechnological potential

4 .1 Screening for metal nanoparticle producing strains from ice/glacier caves (WP5);

4.2 Characterization and separation of biosynthesized metal nanoparticles (WP5)











© 2016 Institute of Biology. All right reserved.



Splaiul Independenţei 296

Bucureşti 060031, sector 6




Tel. +4 0212219202

Fax +4 0212219071

E-mail: biologie@ibiol.ro