New professor researches microbial life on the surface of ice

Alexandre Anesio has been appointed Professor in Arctic Biochemistry at the Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University from 1 November 2018. He comes from a position at the University of Bristol.

2018.10.12 | Christina Troelsen

[Translate to English:] Alexandre Anesio er ansat som professor i Arktisk Biogeokemi ved Institut for Miljøvidenskab, Aarhus Universitet, pr. 1. november 2018. (Privatfoto).

Alexandre Anesio has been appointed a professor in Arctic biochemistry at the Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, from 1 November 2018. (Private photo).

Professor Alexandre Anesio is researching into how microbes growing on ice influence and change the physical and chemical environment on glaciers and ice caps. His research has important implications for understanding the possible feedback mechanisms of ice surfaces in relation to global warming. The research is also relevant in understanding the evolution of the earliest life forms on Earth, and it could give insight into the possibility of finding life elsewhere in the universe.

The results of Alexandre Anesio’s research have recently shown that the pigmented microbial life growing directly on the ice surface, thus making it darker, may affect the rate at which the ice melts. This is because the dark ice absorbs the Sun's energy and makes the surface warmer. These results provide clear evidence that microbial growth on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet has a direct impact on the ice melt. Microbial activity in connection with glaciers and ice caps could also potentially increase the amount of nutrients that flow out into ecosystems such as Greenland's coastal waters.

Alexandre Anesio applies a broad multi-disciplinary approach in his research, combining geographical, microbiological and chemical aspects in his work. He graduated with a master's degree in ecology in 1994 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where he was born and raised, and he gained his PhD degree in limnology (knowledge about lakes and streams) from Lund University in Sweden in 2000. After some years working at the University of Lund, he moved to the UK in 2003, where he has been affiliated with the University of Nottingham, the University of Wales, and, since 2007, the University of Bristol, where in 2014 he was appointed professor of biogeochemistry.

Alexandre Anesio was born in 1969. He will be moving to Copenhagen with his wife, Marie-Louise. They have a 19-year-old daughter, who is studying at the university in the Hague. 

Inaugural lecture

Professor Anesio is giving his inaugural lecture on 25 January 2019. More information will follow. 

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