Montana State University

Priscu, liberated microbes gain media attention

April 27, 2012 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN -- John Priscu, a Montana State University professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, has been quoted recently in Scientific American and other media outlets about ancient microbes that have been trapped in polar ice sheets, but are being liberated by melting glaciers. The release raises new concerns about the impacts of climate change.

Priscu, who has spent more than 25 research seasons in Antarctica, said the ice keeps microorganisms in deep freeze. When the ice melts, the genetic blueprints recycle back into the environment. The process amounts to an evolutionary strategy for microorganisms, Priscu said.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu