& Posters








Training and Development

  NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program
The Priscu Lab has mentored undergraduate students through the REU program since 2002.  The REU program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation, and involves students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects designed especially for the purpose.
           View participants and their projects

  Lab and Field Opportunities for Undergraduates

The Priscu Lab offers many opportunities for undergraduates to gain research experience both in the lab at MSU, and in the field and lab in Antarctica.

          View participants and their projects

 AIRO (American Indian Research Opportunities) Program at Montana State University
The Priscu Lab has provided science research mentors for the Montana Apprenticeship Program (MAP) since 2002, and the BRIDGES (Bridging Tribal College Students to Baccalaureate Degrees) program since 2011. The MAP program provides a six-week, hands on summer research experience for Native American and disadvantaged  high school students who want to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math career fields. The Bridges program is an 8 week research program offered to incoming tribal college transfer students pursuing academic studies in the sciences.
          View participants and their projects

Lab Opportunities for Local Middle School Students

The Priscu Lab has provided opportunities for training and development in microbiology to local Bozeman middle school students from Chief Joseph Middle School since 2010, by mentoring them in lab projects in the Priscu Lab. Students from the Chief Joseph Middle School are given the opportunity to work on a science project under the mentorship of a researcher at MSU or other local company. Students have the opportunity to present their projects at the regional science fair in Butte, and approximately 10% of these students go on to present at the State fair in Missoula.    
View participants and their projects


Outreach Events


●  The Science Olympiad at Montana State University, November 2010
McMurdo Dry Valleys science was featured during the 25th annual Science Olympiad at Montana State University where over 1000 high school and middle school kids participated in science experiments and competitions. The MSU Sub Zero laboratory was toured by 60 students and ice cores were examined. Trista Vick, MSc student in the Priscu Lab, volunteered as a coach at the Science Olympiad. She helped to organize activities for middle school students in the Montana Science Olympiad competition.


  Teacher Resource Fair,
Outreach Coordinator Susan Kelly participated in a Teacher Resource Fair at Montana State University and highlighted ice-core classroom activities. Over 50 teachers attended the Fair.

●  “Science is Cool! Become a Polar Explorer” camp, June 2010
Outreach Coordinator Susan Kelly and graduate students Alex Michaud and Tristy Vick participated in the “Science is Cool! Become a Polar Explorer” camp, a week-long summer camp experience for 20 5th -7th grade students at Montana State University.

  Peaks and Potentials Program, June 2010
MSc student Tristy Vick volunteered for the Peaks and Potentials Program.  She led activities for 7th grade students to learn about the cryosphere, Antarctic science, and life in the Dry Valleys.

  Education Partnership with Crow Indian Reservation,
Outreach Coordinator Susan Kelly started a new education partnership with teachers and students on the Crow Indian Reservation (8 teachers and 150 students). This new outreach program was featured in the Bighorn County News and focuses on polar research.

“Biology at the Extremes” talk for 8th grade students, Fall 2010.

PhD student Alex Michaud gave a talk entitled “Biology at the Extremes” to 8th grade students at Hardin Middle School, Hardin, MT.  This talk incorporated many pictures and discussions of how life persists in the extreme environment of the dry valleys of Antarctica.  

●  “Polar Science Day” at Hardin Intermediate School, Fall 2010.
Alex Michaud, a graduate (PhD) student in the Priscu Lab, helped Outreach Coordinator Susan Kelly with a “Polar Science Day” at Hardin Intermediate School where they did hands-on science experiments with 4th grad students.
            View coverage of this event from the Big Horn County News:
            or pdf.

 Life in Ice documentary, 2002-2003
The Priscu Group, in collaboration with the Big Sky Institute and the MSU Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, produced the teaching video “Living Ice” (filmed during the 2002-2003 Antarctic field season) and synergistic classroom activity for high schools to excite students about microbiology and discovering life in Antarctica.
View information about the documentary 'Life in Ice'


Campus Affiliations

Subzero Science and Engineering Research Facility at Montana State University

  Thermal Biology Institute (TBI) at Montana State University

  Image and Chemical Analysis Library (ICAL) and Center for Biofilm Engineering

     at Montana State University

Research Blogs

During our Antarctic field seasons, many team members write blogs to educate others about their Antarctic research and experiences. many of these blogs are used in classrooms around the country for educational purposes.

By Dr. Rachael Morgan-Kiss, collaborator and field team member, 2010-2011 season. This blog was used for a Polar Microbiology Teaching Module in Rachael's second year undergraduate class in General Microbiology. It was also followed by a 5th grade science class a Kramer Elementary School in Oxford, OH.

By Alex Michaud, PhD student, 2009-2010 season. This blog was used as a focus point for biology discussions at Eagan High School, Eagan, MN and Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA. 

By Andrew Baber, undergraduate field assistant, 2008-2009 season. In this educational blog about living and performing research in the dry valleys, Andrew discussed the BBC filming that took place during the season, the environment of the dry valleys, the research the Limnology group was doing, and other science projects that were going on, such as ENDURANCE. The blog received over 5000 views.

Committees & Workshops

●  Co-chair of the scientific international organizing committee for the SCAR Open
     Science Conference, August 2010, Buenos Aries, Argentina, August 2010. J.
●  Session Organizer and Chair: J. C. Priscu. “The Goldman Legacy: The Importance
    of Long-Term Phytoplankton Productivity Data.” Aquatic Sciences: Global
    Changes. Joint Meeting with ASLO & NABS, Santa Fe, NM, USA. June, 2010.

Polar Research Board-National Academy of Science. 2009-2012.
●  Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life -National Academy of Science.
     2008-2011. J. Priscu.

Chair, SCAR-SALE  (Subglacial Antarctic Lake Environments) Scientific Planning
    Group. 2007-present. J. Priscu.

Organizing Committee, Subglacial Antarctic Lake Exploration (SALE) Advanced
     Science and Technology Workshop, April 24-28, 2006. LGGE, Grenoble
     France. J. Priscu.
 National Academy of Sciences NRC Committee “Forward Contamination of
     Mars.” 2004-2006. J. Priscu.
 Organizing Committee, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography winter
     meeting, Salt Lake City. February 2003. J. Priscu.
 National Academy of Sciences NRC Committee “Frontiers in Polar Research”.
     2002-2003. J. Priscu.
●  Participant and discussion leader, National Science Foundation Workshop 
    “Emerging Research Questions for Limnology: The Study of Inland Waters.
     December 2002.  J. Priscu.
  Participant and raporteur, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography/
     NSF funded workshop on Emerging Issues in Limnology. Boulder, CO.
     December 2002. J. Priscu.
 Organizing Committee, NSF funded FASTDRILL workshop. October 2002. J.
●  United States Ice Core Working Group member. 2002-2008. J. Priscu.
●  Advisory Committee for the United States Ice Core Drilling Services. 2002-
     2008. J. Priscu.
●  Convener for the international Group of Specialists to plan the exploration of Lake
     Vostok and other subglacial lakes. 2000-present. J. Priscu.
 United States Biology representative to the Scientific Committee of Antarctic
     Research (SCAR). 2000-2006. J. Priscu.
 National Science Foundation Office Advisory Committee for the Office of Polar
     Programs. 2000-2002. J. Priscu.
 National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Environmental Research
     and Education 2000-2002. J. Priscu.
●  Review Committee, Public Radio Documentary Series “The DNA Files”. 2000-
     2001. J. Priscu.
●  Sponsor for the NASA Planetary Biology Internship Program. 2000-present. J.
●  Sponsor for NASA GSRP and Space Grant Consortium students. 1997-present. J.
●  Sponsor for NASA Montana Space Grant Consortium students. 1996-present. J.

Lectures and Presentations

●  Invited Lecture: "What Lies Beneath Our Planets Ice Sheet?" Distinguished Lecturer
     in the Department of Microbiology at Miami University. 10 February 2010. J.
●  Invited Lecture: “Diversity in the Cold: Biogeochemical processes in Antarctic lakes
    during the transition to polar night.” 2nd Symposium of Winter Limnology, Berlin,
    Germany. May – June 2010. J.C. Priscu.
●  Lecture: Talk on the "latest research findings and adventures on ice" given at
    Spanish Peaks Ski and Golf Community, Big Sky, MT as part of the Big Sky
    Institute Winter Speaker Series. 25 March 2010. J. Priscu.
●  Lecture: Talk on the "latest research findings and adventures on ice" given at
     the Yellowstone Club Ski and Golf Community, Big Sky, MT as part of the Big
     Sky Institute Winter Speaker Series. 26 March 2010. J. Priscu.
  Lecture: “A hidden world: what lurks beneath the Antarctic ice sheets?” SACNAS
    (Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science) conference.
     Dallas, Texas. 15-18 October 2009. J. Priscu. 
●  Lecture: “The habitability of icy worlds beyond Earth.”  Texas A&M. 15 October
J. Priscu.
Plenary Lecture: "Earth’s polar regions as models for the microbiology of other
    frozen worlds." ASM (American Society for Microbiology) Meeting. Philadelphia.
   18-22 May 2009. J. Priscu.
Invited Essay by the National Science Foundation addressing Darwin’s influence
     on polar regions. “Origin and Evolution of Life on a Frozen Earth.” 2008.
     J. Priscu.

Invited Lecture: ”Life beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet”. ASMSU lecture series. 27
    October 2008. J. Priscu.
Invited lecture. “The lost world beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet.” POP-Tech
    2008. Camden, Maine. 25 October 2008. J. Priscu.
Invited lecture. "What does polar science tell us about the evolution of life?"  IBM.
    San Jose, California. 10 October 2008. J. Priscu.

  Invited Lecture: “A basal plan for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide
    coring project”. WAIS Divide science meeting. 2 October 2008. J. Priscu.
  Plenary Lecture. "Subglacial Lakes and Rivers: Diversity in the cold." Third           
    International Conference on Polar and Alpine Microbiology. Banff, Canada. May
    2008. J. Priscu.
Invited lecture.  “Beyond Polar Bears and Penguins: What can we Learn from
    Polar Science?” University of Nevada, Las Vegas - 2008
School of Life Sciences
    BIOS Graduate Student Organization Lecture. April 2008. J. Priscu.
●  Invited seminar given to residents of McMurdo Station and Scott Base, Antarctica:
    “What happens to the plankton when it gets dark?” 30 March 2008. J. Priscu.
 Philip Hauge Abelson Advancing Science Seminar. "Emerging Polar Frontiers."   
    Sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
    (AAAS). Washington, DC. October 2007. J. Priscu.
 Manion Lecture. "How Are Our Poles Changing?" Carroll College, Helena,
    Montana. April 2007. J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture. “Climate and Ecosystem Response in Earth’s South Polar
    Regions.” University of Alberta, Canada and the Ecosystem Research Institute,
    Alberta. April 2007. J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture. “What Can We Learn from Our Polar Regions.” Madrid, Spain.
    Funded by Fundacion la Caixa; CosmoCaixa (National Museum of Spain). April
    2007. J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture. “Icy Earth as a Model for Extraterrestrial Ecology.” University of
    California, Davis. October 2006. J. Priscu.
 Plenary Lecture. “Subglacial Lake Exploration: From a Curiosity to Focus for
    Scientific Research." SCAR XXIX Open Science Conference, Hobart, Tasmania.
    12-14 July 2006. J. Priscu.
 Plenary Lecture. “Life on Mars and Europa.” Astrobiology Symposium.
    Washington, D.C. March 2006. J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture “Subglacial Microbial Systems.” International Society of Microbial
    Ecology. Vienna, Austria. August 2006. J. Priscu.
 Japanese National Institute of Polar Research, Toyko, Japan. Three lectures
    presented on life in and under permanent ice sheets. February 2006. J. Priscu.
 Plenary Lecture. “Is There a Deep Cold Biosphere?” Meeting of the International
    Society of Subsurface Microbiology. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. August 2005. J. 
 C.B. van Niel Memorial Lecture, Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station.
    20 May 2005. J. Priscu.
 Murdock Charitable Trust Lecture “Partners in Science," National Conference on
    Research Partnerships for High School Teachers, San Diego, CA. 16-17 January
    2004. J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture “Earth’s Icy Biosphere.” Utah State University. 26 January 2004.
    J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture. “Live in a Deep Freeze.” University of Southern California. 10
    February 2004. J. Priscu.
 Plenary Lecture. “Are Earth’s Ice Caps Alive?” Canadian Society of
    Microbiology, national meeting. Edmonton, Canada. 20-23 June 2004. J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture to the National Science Teachers Association. “Pond Water
    Popsicles.” 8 July 2004. J. Priscu.
 Lecture. “From Antarctica to Mars.” National Science Teachers Association.
    August, 2004
J. Priscu.
 Invited Lecture. “Antarctic Subglacial Lakes.” Water and Ice, 20th Anniversary
    Symposium, Swiss Committee on Polar Research, Bern, Switzerland. 18
    September 2004. J. Priscu.
 Plenary speaker. “Perennial Antarctic Ice: An Oasis for Life in a Polar Desert and
    a Model for Other Icy Worlds.” Russian Astrobiology Center, St. Petersburg, 
    Russia. March 2002. J. Priscu.
 Plenary speaker “Is there a Deep-Cold Biosphere?” American Association for the
    Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. San
    Francisco, California. 15-20 February 2001. J. Priscu.
 Plenary speaker. American Society of Microbiology. “Life in Extremely Cold
    Environments.” Orlando, Florida. 20-24 May 2001. J. Priscu.
 Plenary speaker. Geosciences lecture series-May, Princeton University, New
    Jersey. 2000. J. Priscu.
 Plenary speaker. “Life in Ice.” Cambridge University, England. 1999. J. Priscu.
 Invited speaker, Sigma XI Research Society. Topic: "Antarctic Lakes and
    Streams: Cold Desert Ecosystems." 1985. J. Priscu.

Web Connections

February 2011.  "Antarctic researchers gathered at MSU to test equipment for pioneering work." http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=9524&origin=homepage

Fall 2010.  "Learning science through “hands on” experimentation."
Onine:  http://www.bighorncountynews.com/archive/2010/week%2047/ssstory1.html
or pdf.

November 2009.  "Massive Antarctic project takes MSU to one of Earth's final frontiers."

April 2009. "John Priscu: Life Below the Ice of Antarctic."

October 2008.  John Priscu - PopTech 2008 Popcast

October 2008. "Biological Pulse: WAIS Divide project searches for life in the ice."

March 2008. "Antarctica's coldest, darkest season draws Montana State University researchers."

2008. Polar-Palooza Vodcast Archives: "Life and Cold in the Deepening Dark." In "Single Vodcasts, by Hemisphere."

2007-2009. Passport to Knowledge:  Polar-Palooza 2007-2009.

2007. "Genetics & Astrobiology: Life: How to Make a Cosmic Omelet."

November 2007. "In the Cold of the Night: Science team to extend seasonal work until April to study lake ecosystem in the McMurdo Dry Valleys."

Febraury 2006.  "Eighty below and loving it: Montana State University scientists to get new cold lab."

NPR: Exploring Antarctica.

McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER.


Priscu Research Home Page

msu logo.gif (1503 bytes)