2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Palmer Long Term Ecological Research (LTER): Looking back in time through marine ecosystem space, apex predator component

Program Manager:
Dr. Lisa Clough


ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Philip Spindler

Dr. Bill Fraser (Principal Investigator)
http://pal.lternet.edu/External Non U.S. Government Site

Polar Oceans Research Group
Sheridan, Montana

Supporting Stations:  ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station
Research Locations:  West Antarctic Peninsula

Project Description:
The core, long-term data associated with the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) studies are derived primarily from local populations distributed over approximately 50 square kilometers near Palmer Station. At-sea surveys of abundance and distribution of seabirds over an area of approximately 80,000 square kilometers provide a larger-scale context for these studies. Spanning three decades, this data collection allows researchers to address a broad suite of ecological issues, including interactions between climate migration and community structure, the effects of landscape geomorphology on biological populations, the mechanics of source-sink population dynamics, and the establishing of basic conceptual and empirical links between marine and terrestrial ecology.

Field Season Overview:
Based at Palmer Station from October to April, field team members will use Zodiacs to make day trips and possible overnights within the local boating area. Team members will concentrate on censusing and mapping seabird colonies, obtaining indices of reproductive success, determining diets and foraging ranges, and examining chick growth and energetics. In the lab, researchers will process GIS and telemetry data and analyze diet samples. During LTER’s annual cruise aboard the LMG, the “birders” group will establish a field camp of several days duration on Avian Island to census and map Adélie Penguin colonies, obtain diet samples and instrument birds with satellite transmitters and dive-depth recorders. Onboard the vessel they will conduct seabird observations from the bridge. If the conditions and logistics allow, a field party may disembark at stops between Anvers Island and Marguerite Bay to conduct penguin diet sampling.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Shawn Farry
  • Bill Fraser (PI)
  • Jen Mannas
  • Donna Patterson-Fraser

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Curator: Ethan Norris, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs