The Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) has for more than 50 years carried out continuous air sampling across Sweden to monitor radioactive fallout. At these sampling sites, large volumes of air are filtered every week through glass fibre filters which, in addition to inorganic particles, trap biological material in the form of bacteria, fungal spores, viruses, plant pollen, etc.
Since the sampling began, the air filters have been archived at FOI and today constitute one of the most complete archives of air samples over the last decades in the whole world. Long time series with high temporal resolution are important in order to be able to draw correct conclusions about changes over time. With modern DNA sequencing technology, we now have the opportunity to use this unique archive of air filters to make detailed studies of how the composition and diversity of different organisms in Swedish air change over several decades.
This doctoral project focuses on how biodiversity changes over time and whether these changes can be linked to climate and environmental changes.