Understanding the links between pelagic microbial ecosystems and organic matter cycling in the changing Arctic (μARC)


The Micro-Arc project will study the microbial components of the Arctic food web, focusing specifically on planktonic microorganisms that inhabit the water column.

Using a range of contemporary tools, we will determine how planktonic microbes regulate organic matter biogeochemical cycling and establish how these processes vary through the dramatic Arctic seasonal cycle.

Also, using advanced computational modelling, we will use this information to predict how future climate change will impact the structure and functioning of the microbial components of the ecosystem.  

This project is co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by NERC.

Dr Michael Cunliffe, lead investigator of the Micro-ARC project:

This is an exciting opportunity to bring together our interdisciplinary UK/German team to understand the major roles the planktonic marine microbes have in the Arctic carbon cycle and examine the impacts on these processes of future climate change scenarios.

Lead Investigators

  • Dr Michael Cunliffe

    Co-lead investigator, Marine Biological Association (MBA)

    I am a marine microbial biologist and ecologist, and hold a joint appointment between the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and the University of Plymouth. I am the co-lead investigator of the Micro-ARC project and will lead the microbial components of the research.

    View full profile
  • Professor Dr Anja Engel

    Co-lead investigator, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

    Anja Engel a professor for Biological Oceanography at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Germany. Her research addresses biogeochemical processes, with emphasis on microbial carbon cycling, within the upper water column, at the interface with the atmosphere as well as export processes to the Deep Sea. Anja is a co-lead investigator in the Micro-ARC project, co-funded by BMBF and NERC.

    View full profile

Related Articles

  • Arctic study to shed light on organisms key to the food chain

    A research team – led by a University of Stirling expert – will set off on a scientific cruise to the Arctic Ocean this weekend in a bid to understand the behaviour of tiny organisms that are key to the food chain. Read more

    04 August 2019
  • UK and Germany combine forces to fund crucial Arctic science

    For the first time, the UK and Germany have joined forces to investigate the impact of climate change on the Arctic Ocean. The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) have jointly invested almost £8 million in 12 new projects to carry… Read more

    03 July 2018