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Award Detail

Awardee:MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY, INC
Doing Business As Name:Montana State University
PD/PI:
  • John C Priscu
  • (406) 994-3250
  • jpriscu@montana.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Andrew C Mitchell
  • Mark Skidmore
Award Date:08/25/2009
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 2,640,575
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 2,640,575
  • FY 2009=$2,640,575
Start Date:09/01/2009
End Date:08/31/2015
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.078
Primary Program Source:040101 RRA RECOVERY ACT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: GeomicroBiology of Antarctic Subglacial Environments (GBASE) Beneath the Mercer and Whillans Ice Streams
Federal Award ID Number:0838933
DUNS ID:625447982
Parent DUNS ID:079602596
Program:ANT Integrated System Science
Program Officer:
  • Lisa Clough
  • (703) 292-4746
  • lclough@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:309 MONTANA HALL
City:BOZEMAN
State:MT
ZIP:59717-2470
County:Bozeman
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Montana State University
Street:309 MONTANA HALL
City:BOZEMAN
State:MT
ZIP:59717-2470
County:Bozeman
Country:US
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). The GBASE project (GeomicroBiology of Antarctic Subglacial Environments) is one of three research components of the WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) integrative initiative that is being funded by the Antarctic Integrated System Science Program of NSF's Office of Polar Programs, Antarctic Division. The overarching scientific objective of WISSARD is to assess the role of water beneath a West Antarctic ice stream in interlinked glaciological, geological, microbiological, geochemical, and oceanographic systems. GBASE will examine distinct, but hydrologically related, subglacial environments using a combination of biogeochemical/ genomic measurements to answer key questions directly relevant to metabolic and phylogenetic biodiversity, and the biogeochemical transformation of major nutrients beneath the Whillans Ice Stream. We expect the microbial communities associated with the ice stream to be a metabolically dynamic ecosystem, and specifically ask (1) what is the microbial community structure and (2) what is the metabolic function of the community in situ? Understanding biogeochemical processes involved with elemental transformations on our planet is a central theme in NSF's decadal plan and the use of multidisciplinary tools to study these transformations in polar regions has been recommended by a 2007 NRC report that states "It is time for scientific research on subglacial lakes to begin". GBASE results will be used by investigators of LISSARD and RAGES (the other two components of the WISSARD project) to cast their results in a holistic ecosystem perspective. INTELLECTUAL MERIT: The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognized that the greatest uncertainties in assessing future global sea-level change stem from a poor understanding of ice sheet dynamics and ice sheet vulnerability to oceanic and atmospheric warming. Disintegration of the WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) alone would contribute 3-5 m to global sea-level rise, making WAIS a focus of scientific concern due to its potential susceptibility to internal or ocean-driven instability. The overall WISSARD project will test the overarching hypothesis that active water drainage connects various subglacial environments and exerts major control on ice sheet flow, geochemistry, metabolic and phylogenetic diversity, and biogeochemical transformations. BROADER IMPACTS: Societal Relevance: Global warming, melting of ice sheets and consequential sea-level rise are of high societal relevance. Science Resource Development: After a 9-year hiatus WISSARD will provide the US-science community with a renewed capability to access and study sub-ice sheet environments. Developing this technological infrastructure will benefit the broader science community and assets will be accessible for future use through the NSF-OPP drilling contractor. Furthermore, these projects will pioneer an approach implementing recommendations from the National Research Council committee on Principles of Environmental Stewardship for the Exploration and Study of Subglacial Environments (2007). Education and Outreach (E/O): These activities are grouped into four categories: i) increasing student participation in polar research by fully integrating them in our research programs; ii) introducing new investigators to the polar sciences by incorporating promising young investigators in our programs, iii) promotion of K-12 teaching and learning programs by incorporating various teachers and NSTA programs, and iv) reaching a larger public audience through such venues as popular science magazines, museum based activities and videography and documentary films. In summary, WISSARD will promote scientific exploration of Antarctica by conveying to the public the excitement of accessing and studying what may be some of the last unexplored aquatic environments on Earth, and which represent a potential analogue for extraterrestrial life habitats on Europa and Mars.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Priscu, J.C.; Powell, R.D.; Tulaczyk, S. "Probing Subglacial Environments Under the Whillans Ice Stream." EOS, v.91 (29), 2010, p.253.

Tulaczyk, S., J. A. Mikucki, M.R. Siegfried, J. C. Priscu, C. G. Barcheck, L.H. Beem, A. Behar, J. Burnett, B.C. Christner, A.T. Fisher, H.A. Fricker, K.D. Mankoff, R.D. Powell, F. Rack, D. Sampson, R.P. Scherer, S.Y. Schwartz and The WISSARD Science Tea "WISSARD at Subglacial Lake Whillans, West Antarctica: scientific operations and initial observations" Annals of Glaciology, v.55, 2014, p.1. doi:doi: 10.3189/2014AoG65A009 

Christner, B.C., G.G. Montross, and J.C. Priscu "Dissolved gases in frozen basal water from the NGRIP borehole: implications for biogeochemical processes beneath the Greenland ice sheet" Polar Biology, v.35, 2012, p.1735.

Barletta, R.E., J.C. Priscu, H.M. Mader, W.L. Jones and C.W. Roe "Chemical Analysis of Ice Vein µ-Environments II ? Analysis of Glacial Samples from Greenland and the Antarctic" J. Glaciology, v.58, 2012, p.1109.

Lever, M.A., A. Torti, P. Eickenbusch, A.B. Michaud, T. ?antl-Temkiv, B.B. Jørgensen "A modular method for the extraction of DNA and RNA, and the separation of DNA pools from diverse environmental sample types" Frontiers in Microbiology, v.6, 2015, p.. doi:DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00476 

Lanoil, B; Skidmore, M; Priscu, JC; Han, S; Foo, W; Vogel, SW; Tulaczyk, S; Engelhardt, H "Bacteria beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet" ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, v.11, 2009, p.609. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01831.  View record at Web of Science

Priscu, J.C., J. Laybourn-Parry, M. Haggblom "Polar and alpine microbiology in a changing world" FEMS Microbiology Ecology, v.89, 2015, p.209.

Slawek TULACZYK, Jill A. MIKUCKI, Matthew R. SIEGFRIED, John C. PRISCU, C. Grace BARCHECK, Lucas H. BEEM, Alberto BEHAR, Justin BURNETT, Brent C. CHRISTNER, Andrew T. FISHER, Helen A. FRICKER, Kenneth D. MANKOFF, Ross D. POWELL, Frank RACK, Daniel SAMPSON "WISSARD at Subglacial Lake Whillans: Scientific Operations and Initial Observations" Annals of Glaciology, v.55, 2014, p.1. doi:10.3189/2014AoG65A009 

Priscu, J.C. "Life at the ends of the earth" Bioscience, v.59, 2009, p.709.

Priscu, J.C., A. M. Achberger, J. E. Cahoon, B.C. Christner, R. L. Edwards, W.L. Jones, A.B. Michaud, M.R. Siegfried, M.L. Skidmore, R.H. Spigel G.W. Switzer, S. Tulaczyk, T.J. Vick-Majors "A microbiologically clean strategy for access to the Whillans Ice Stream subglacial environment" Antarctic Science, v.25, 2013, p.637.

Kong, W., D.C. Ream, J.C. Priscu, R.M. Morgan-Kiss "Diversity and Expression of RubisCO Genes in a Perennially Ice-Covered Antarctic Lake during the Polar Night Transition" Appl. Env. Microbiol, v.78, 2012, p.4358.

Priscu, J.C. and K.O. Hand "The microbial habitability of extraterrestrial icy worlds: A view from Earth" Microbe, v.7, 2012, p.167.

Brent C. Christner, John C. Priscu, Amanda M. Achberger, Carlo Barbante, Sasha P. Carter, Knut Christianson, Alexander B. Michaud, Jill A. Mikucki, Andrew C. Mitchell, Mark L. Skidmore, Trista J. Vick-Majors, & the WISSARD Science Team "A microbial ecosystem beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet" Nature, v.512, 2014, p.310.

Priscu, J. C., R. D. Powell, and S. Tulaczyk "Probing Subglacial Environments Under the Whillans Ice Stream" EOS, v.91, 2010, p.253. doi:doi:10.1029/2010EO290002 

P:riscu., J.C. "Life at the ends of the Earth" Bioscience, v.59, 2009, p.709.

Christner, B.C., G.G. Montross, and J.C. Priscu "Dissolved gases in frozen basal water from the NGRIP borehole: implications for biogeochemical processes beneath the Greenland ice sheet" Polar Biology, v.35, 2012, p.1735. doi:10.1007/s00300-012-1198-z 

Vick-Majors, T.J., J. C. Priscu, L. Amaral-Zettler "Modular community structure suggests community plasticity during the transition to polar night in ice-covered Antarctic lakes" The ISME Journal, v.8, 2014, p.778.

Fisher, A.T., K.D. Mankoff, S.M. Tulaczyk, S. W. Tyler, N. Foley and the WISSARD Science Team "High geothermal heat flux measured below the West Antarctic Ice Sheet" Science Advances, v.1, 2015, p.. doi:DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500093 

Purcell, A.M., J.A. Mikucki, A.M. Achberger, I.A. Alekhina, C. Barbante, B.C. Christner, D. Ghosh, A.B. Michaud, A.C. Mitchell, J.C. Priscu, R. Scherer, M.L. Skidmore, T.J. Vick-Majors and the WISSARD Science Team "Microbial sulfur transformations in sediments from Subglacial Lake Whillans" Frontiers in Microbiology, v., 2014, p.. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2014.00594 

Siegert, M., J. Priscu, and I. Alekhina "The future of Antarctic subglacial lake exploration" EOS, v.96, 2015, p.. doi:doi:10.1029/2015EO032249 

Priscu, J.C. and K.O. Hand "The microbial habitability of extraterrestrial icy worlds: A view from Earth" Microbe, v.7, 2012, p.167.

Kong, W., D.C. Ream, J.C. Priscu, R.M. Morgan-Kiss "High diversity of the form II RubisCO gene in a perennially ice-covered Antarctic lake" FEMS Microbiology Ecology, v.82, 2012, p.491.

Edwards, A., Irvine-Fynn, T., Mitchell, A.C. and Rassner, S.M.E. "A germ theory for glacial systems?" WIREs Water, v.doi: 10, 2014, p.. doi:doi: 10.1002/wat2.1029 

Kong, W., J.M. Dolhi, A. Chiuchiolo, J.C. Priscu, R. M. Morgan-Kiss "High diversity of the form II RubisCO gene in a perennially ice-covered Antarctic lake" FEMS Microbiol, v.82, 2012, p.491.

Wadham, J.L., Tranter, M., Skidmore, M., Hodson, A.J., Priscu, J.C., Lyons, W.B., Sharp, M., Wynn, P., Jackson, M. "Biogeochemical weathering under ice: size matters" Global Biogeochemical Cycles, v.24, 2010, p.1029. doi:10.1029/2009GB003688 

Priscu, J.C., A. M. Achberger, J. E. Cahoon, B.C. Christner, R. L. Edwards, W.L. Jones, A.B. Michaud, M.R. Siegfried, M.L. Skidmore, R.H. Spigel G.W. Switzer, S. Tulaczyk, T.J. Vick-Majors "A microbiologically clean strategy for access to the Whillans Ice Stream subglacial environment" Antarctic Science, v.25, 2013, p.637. doi:10.1017S0954102013000025 

Wadham, J.L., Tranter, M., Skidmore, M., Hodson, A.J., Priscu, J.C., Lyons, W.B., Sharp, M., Wynn, P., Jackson, M "Biogeochemical weathering under ice: size matters" Global Biogeochemical Cycles, v.24, 2010, p.3025. doi:doi:10.1029/2009GB003688 

Lanoil, B; Skidmore, M; Priscu, JC; Han, S; Foo, W; Vogel, SW; Tulaczyk, S; Engelhardt, H "Bacteria beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet" ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, v.11, 2009, p.609. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01831.x 

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