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School of Geography

Margaret Cramm


PhD student



Research interests: extremophilic bacteria, arctic microbiology, astrobiology, biogeochemical cycles, climate change

Project title: How does permafrost thaw affect microbial activity and function in Arctic soil?

The Arctic is currently experiencing unprecedented change to its climate, including dramatic increases in temperature intensified by the Polar amplification effect. Rapid thawing of Arctic permafrost is expected due to rising temperatures, even under the most ambitious climate mitigation strategies currently being considered. As permafrost thaws, soil organic carbon becomes vulnerable to microbial decomposition—resulting in large and variable fluxes in greenhouse gases (GHGs), including CO2 and CH4, to the atmosphere—further contributing to global temperature rise. The overarching aim of this study is to understand the effect of permafrost thaw on microbial community activity and function, in order to improve predictions of the future fate of soil organic carbon in Arctic permafrost. This will be achieved by combining specialized -omics approaches and geochemical techniques to detect and measure microbial activity in thawing permafrost.


James Bradley, QMUL
Kate Heppell, QMUL
Anne Jungblut, Natural History Museum

Academic background

MSc, Environmental Microbiology, University of Calgary
BSc, Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology, University of Calgary


QMUL Principal Studentship



Selected publications

Cramm, M.A., Chakraborty, A., Li, C., Ruff, S.E., Jørgensen, B.B., Hubert, C.R.J. (2019). Freezing Tolerance of Thermophilic Bacterial Endospores in Marine Sediments. Frontiers in Microbiology. 10: 945


Selected conference presentations

Cramm, M., Manning, C., Neves, B., Hayes, V., Radović, J. R., Chakraborty, A., Archambault, P., Auger, V., Chen, J., Bautista, M., Bhatnagar, S., Clark, R., Izett, R., Jaggi, A., Li, C., Edinger, E., Lockhart, P., McCullock, R., Mort, A., Cyr-Parent, A., Polcwiartek, K., Zheng, Z., Stern, G., Oldenburg, T. B. P., Tortell, P., Hubert, C. R. J. (2019). Microbial methane biofilter mitigates natural greenhouse gas emissions in Canada’s Arctic. ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting.

Cramm, M., Hubert, C. (2016) Dispersal of thermophilic endospore-forming bacteria in North Atlantic marine sediments over large geographic distances and geologic timescales. 16th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology.

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