Grant Benjamin Jensen

Winter Soil Processes Research Team:


My research studies the impact of the winter transition on the soil microbiome. It was historically thought that microbial communities were largely dormant and there was very little microbial activity over winter. This subsequently biased research towards studying the growing seasons. In recent years this assumption has been challenged and warrants further exploration.

The objectives of my research are to quantify and characterize the changes observed in microbial diversity and the accompanying bioenergetics of soil systems through freeze-thaw transitions. To this end, high-throughput sequencing in combination with metabolic assessments and cell counts will be used to characterize microbial diversity and metabolic potential across seasonal timelines. These results will be obtained from sampling of controlled soil column experiments that can dynamically simulate the winter transition and accompanying freeze-thaw cycles.

Insights from this research will yield a greater understanding of the changing microbial diversity in winter soils, with potential implications for study of climate change, agriculture, biogeochemical cycling, and future modelling efforts.