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Assistant professor Tina Santl-Temkiv receives funding from The VILLUM Experiment

The Villum Foundation is supporting bold technical and scientific research ideas for the second time. Assistant Professor Tina Santl-Temkiv from Department of Bioscience is one of this year’s recipients, receiving DKK 2 million for a project that will study the impact of sea-ice microorganisms on cloud processes in the Arctic.

2018.09.20 | Lea Laursen Pasgaard

Assistant professor Tina Santl-Temkiv. Photo: Sofia Riberio

Assistant professor Tina Santl-Temkiv from the Department of Bioscience has been granted DKK 2 million under the VILLUM Experiment program. Photos: Sofia Riberio

Assistant professor Tina Santl-Temkiv. Photo: Sofia Riberio

Assistant professor Tina Santl-Temkiv.

For the second year in a row, the Villum Foundation has granted funding under the VILLUM Experiment program for original, bold research experiments at Danish research institutions. 

One of this year’s recipients is assistant professor Tina Santl-Temkiv from the Department of Bioscience. She is to receive DKK 2 million for the project "Deciphering the role of sea-ice microorganisms on cloud processes in the Arctic".

A total 53 experiments were selected from more than 400 applications in 2018, all of which have been through an anonymous selection process in which 53 international assessors have reviewed the research ideas without being able to consider the researchers' CVs and academic qualifications.

Tina Santl-Temkiv’s elaborates her project in the following:

What is you research project about?

With this Villum experiment project, I will investigate how the discharge of microorganisms caused by the massive sea-ice melt affects cloud processes in the Arctic. The project combines field measurements at the Villum Research Station in northeast Greenland and laboratory simulations in collaboration with the Atmospheric physical chemistry group at the Department of Chemistry, AU. The project focuses on the ice nucleating microorganisms that have defining roles in arctic cloud processes. Based on the known ice-binding properties of the ice nucleating microorganisms, I hypothesize that the sea ice selectively incorporates and therefore concentrates these types of microorganisms. Once the sea ice melts, these cloud-forming microorganisms are released into the surface sea layer, from where they can enter the atmosphere. Thus, due to climate changes that cause progressive sea-ice melt, the consequent changes in seawater microbial composition may affect the weather and climate in the Arctic.

How is the project related to the research you have done so far?

Currently, I am working on an AUFF-NOVA-funded project that employs small aircrafts for sampling cloud water and air in the higher troposphere. The projects aims to investigate the activity and ice nucleation activity of airborne microorganisms as a response to the availability of liquid water in clouds. For the past five years, I also have been studying the role of airborne microorganisms in the arctic atmospheric processes, which were studies funded by the Stellar Astrophysics Centre (Department of Physics and Astronomy) and the Arctic Research Center. One focus was the marine and terrestrial sources of ice-nucleating microorganisms in the high Arctic. This Villum Experiment project will complement my previous research by including the sea ice as a previously unknown reservoir for ice nucleating microorganisms in the Arctic.

The VILLUM Experiment is about bold ideas and projects that challenge the norm and have the potential to chance the way we look at important subjects or issues. How does you project do that?

Virtually nothing is known about effects of ice melt on marine budgets of ice nucleating microorganisms, and thus on future cloud cover and radiation budgets in the Arctic. Therefore, this project will study a so-far completely overlooked aspect of interactions between sea-ice, sea and the atmosphere. Understanding the emission processes from arctic seas that this study will provide is necessary for predicting future climate in the extremely vulnerable arctic region.

Seven other researchers from Aarhus University have successfully applied for funding from the VILLUM Experiment programme. Read more about their projects

Read more about the VILLUM Experiment in a press release about the grants

Department of Bioscience, Public / media, Staff