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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Montana State University
  • Christine M Foreman
  • (406) 994-2272
Award Date:06/16/2009
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 314,610
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 348,731
  • FY 2011=$4,178
  • FY 2009=$314,610
  • FY 2010=$29,943
Start Date:07/01/2009
End Date:06/30/2014
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.078
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: The Biogeochemical Evolution of Dissolved Organic Matter in a Fluvial System on the Cotton Glacier, Antarctica
Federal Award ID Number:0838970
DUNS ID:625447982
Parent DUNS ID:079602596
Program:ANT Organisms & Ecosystems
Program Officer:
  • Peter Milne
  • (703) 292-4714

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Montana State University
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) comprises a significant pool of Earth's organic carbon that dwarfs the amount present in living aquatic organisms. The properties and reactivity of DOM are not well defined, and the evolution of autochthonous DOM from its precursor materials in freshwater has not been observed. Recent sampling of a supraglacial stream formed on the Cotton Glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains revealed DOM that more closely resembles an assemblage of recognizable precursor organic compounds, based upon its UV-VIS and fluorescence spectra. It is suggested that the DOM from this water evolved over time to resemble materials present in marine and many inland surface waters. The transient nature of the system i.e., it reforms seasonally, also prevents any accumulation of the refractory DOM present in most surface waters. Thus, the Cotton Glacier provides us with a unique environment to study the formation of DOM from precursor materials. An interdisciplinary team will study the biogeochemistry of this progenitor DOM and how microbes modify it. By focusing on the chemical composition of the DOM as it shifts from precursor material to the more humified fractions, the investigators will relate this transition to bioavailability, enzymatic activity, community composition and microbial growth efficiency. This project will support education at all levels, K-12, high school, undergraduate, graduate and post-doc and will increase participation by under-represented groups in science. Towards these goals, the investigators have established relationships with girls' schools and Native American programs. Additional outreach will be carried out in coordination with PolarTREC, PolarPalooza, and if possible, an Antarctic Artist and Writer.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Anesio, M. A., B. Sattler, C. Foreman, J. Telling, A. Hodson, M. Tranter and R. Psenner. "Carbon fluxes through bacterial communities on glacier surfaces." Annals of Glaciology, v.51 (56), 2010, p.32.

Smith, Heidi J and Schmit, Amber and Foster, Rachel and Littman, Sten and Kuypers, Marcel MM and Foreman, Christine M "Biofilms on glacial surfaces: hotspots for biological activity" npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, v.2, 2016, p.. doi:10.1038/npjbiofilms.2016.8 Citation details  

Smith, Heidi J. and Foreman, Christine M. and Akiyama, Tatsuya and Franklin, Michael J. and Devitt, Nicolas P. and Ramaraj, Thiruvarangan "Genome Sequence of Janthinobacterium sp. CG23_2, a Violacein-Producing Isolate from an Antarctic Supraglacial Stream" Genome Announcements, v.4, 2016, p.. doi:10.1128/genomeA.01468-15 Citation details  

D'Andrilli, Juliana and Cooper, William T. and Foreman, Christine M. and Marshall, Alan G. "An ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry index to estimate natural organic matter lability: FTICRMS organic matter molecular lability index" Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, v.29, 2015, p.. doi:10.1002/rcm.7400 Citation details  

Smith, H. J. and Foreman, C. M. and Ramaraj, T. "Draft Genome Sequence of a Metabolically Diverse Antarctic Supraglacial Stream Organism, Polaromonas sp. Strain CG9_12, Determined Using Pacific Biosciences Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing Technology" Genome Announcements, v.2, 2014, p.. doi:10.1128/genomeA.01242-14 Citation details  

Smith, H. and Akiyama, T. and Foreman, C. and Franklin, M. and Woyke, T. and Teshima, H. and Davenport, K. and Daligault, H. and Erkkila, T. and Goodwin, L. and Gu, W. and Xu, Y. and Chain, P. "Draft Genome Sequence and Description of Janthinobacterium sp. Strain CG3, a Psychrotolerant Antarctic Supraglacial Stream Bacterium" Genome Announcements, v.1, 2013, p.. doi:10.1128/genomeA.00960-13 Citation details  

K. Cawley, C. M. Foreman, P. L. Miller, Y-P Chin and D. M. McKnight "The Biogeochemistry of a nitrogen-rich fulvic acid fraction of the microbially-derived fulvic acid in Pony Lake, Cape Royds, Antarctica." Environmental Research Letters, v.8, 2013, p..

C. M. Foreman, R. M. Cory, C. E. Morris, M. D. SanClements, H. J. Smith, J. T. Lisle, P. L. Miller, Y.-P. Chin and D. M. McKnight "Microbial growth under humic-free conditions in a supraglacial stream system on the Cotton Glacier, Antarctica." Environmental Research Letters, v.(8), 2013, p.doi:10.10.

M. Dieser*, C. M. Foreman*, C. Jaros, J. T. Lisle, M. Greenwood, J. Laybourn-Parry, P. L. Miller, Y-P. Chin and D.M. McKnight "Physicochemical and biological dynamics in a coastal Antarctic lake as it transitions from frozen to open water" Antarctic Science, v., 2013, p.1-13. doi: 

Heidi Smith, Tatsuya Akiyama, Christine Foreman, Michael Franklin, Tanja Woyke, Hazuki Teshima, Karen Davenport, Hajnalka Daligault, Tracy Erkkila, Lynne Goodwin, Wei Gu, Yan Xu, Patrick Chain "Draft Genome Sequence and Description of Janthinobacterium sp. Strain CG3, a Psychrotolerant Antarctic Supraglacial Stream Bacterium" genomeA, v.1, 2013, p.e00960-13. doi:doi:10.1128/ genomeA.00960-13. 

M. Tedesco, C. M. Foreman, J. A. Steiner and T. Schwartzman "Comparative analysis of morphological, mineralogical and spectral properties of cryoconite in Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland and Canada Glacier, Antarctica" Annals of Glaciology, v.54, 2013, p.147. doi:doi:10.3189/2013AoG63A417 

M. Tedesco, C. Foreman, J. Anton, N. Steiner and T. Schwartzman "Comparative analysis of West Greenland and McMurdo Dry Valleys (Antarctica) cryoconite" Annals of Glaciology, v.54, 2013, p.147-157.

, B. M. C. Storrie-Loombardi, C. M. Foreman, M. Tilg, and R. Psenner "Laser Induced Fluorescence Emission (L.I.F.E.) from Lake Fryxell Cryoconites" Annals of Glaciology, v.51 (56), 2010, p.145.

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The Cotton Glacier, a natural laboratory for studying the evolution of dissolved organic matter

The supraglacial stream system on the Cotton Glacier, Antarctica provides opportunities to study the formation of autochthonous dissolved organic matter (DOM) that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  DOM is a complex mixture of organic carbon and nutrients that plays an important role in the global carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles. DOM is a carbon source for microbial metabolic activity, and is known to influence the fate of anthropogenic contaminants.

The Cotton Glacier serves as a natural laboratory for studying the formation of these microbially derived materials. We sampled the stream over three seasons in order to determine natural variations in the microbial community and the rates and pathways of DOM transformation.

This work is a collaboration between microbial ecologists, chemists, hydrologists, and engineers and has involved undergraduates, graduate students, post docs and tribal college students.  We brought the excitement of Polar Science to a broad audience through several outreach projects, including the Crow Education Project, “Clues to the Cryosphere: Stories from the Ice” workshops, seminars, webinars and an exhibit booth at the National Science Teachers Association national meetings, and the National Parks Climate Change Challenge.  We worked with local students in week long summer courses, visits to classrooms, and had an embedded teacher in the field with us through the Polar Trec program.  


Last Modified: 10/23/2014
Modified by: Christine M Foreman

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