Alpine Microbial Observatory
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Overview of the Project

Research at the Alpine Microbial Observatory (AMO) is focused on studying the seasonal dynamics of soil microorganisms across an extreme environmental gradient ranging from montane forests (2800 m. el.) up to alpine tundra and barren talus slopes (4000 m. el.). These sites represent globally important plant biomes, all of which are covered with snow for part of the year. We are especially interested in the snow-covered period because 35% of Earth's land surface is covered with snow for varying lengths of time each year and research at the AMO has shown that novel soil microorganisms are active under snow where they contribute significantly to gas fluxes and nitrogen pulses to the environment.

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Current Research

The AMO is funded by the Microbial Observatories Program at NSF. Learn more about the exciting science we plan to accomplish with AMO!


Explore Diversity

Understanding global microbial biodiversity starts with being able to share knowledge. AMO is building tools to explore diversity information from multiple microbial observatories. Find out more about our informatics initiatives!


Niwot Ridge without snow

Niwot Ridge without snow cover. See more images in our Photo Gallery.


Monte Pescador at talus site (photo by Al Meyer).
  • Monte Pescador at talus site (photo by Al Meyer).
Meyer and Schmidt collecting at talus site.
  • Meyer and Schmidt collecting at talus site. (photo by Monte Pescador)