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
The seasonal cycle of export production in an Antarctic coastal marine ecosystem

Program Manager:
Dr. Diana Nemergut


ASC POC/Implementer:
Leslie Blank / Philip Spindler

Dr. Hugh William Ducklow (Principal Investigator)

Columbia University
Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
Palisades, New York

Supporting Stations:  Palmer Station
Research Locations:  West Antarctic Peninsula

Project Description:
Over some range of space and time scales, the fraction of primary production exported from the ecosystem is conceptually equivalent to the net community production (NCP), although in practice the two quantities are not always comparable. In the cold, low-light Antarctic coastal region, the export production should be approximated by nitrate-based new production, although, again, the time and space scales over which equivalence is manifested are poorly-defined. There have been relatively few measurements of these three processes in polar regions, and even fewer systematic time series investigations conducted at the proper scales to uncover mechanisms. In consequence, the physical, ecological and biogeochemical mechanisms regulating new production, NCP and export production remain poorly-characterized, especially in the remote and harsh Antarctic environment. Project researchers will collect a comprehensive data set on the seasonal cycles of new, export and net community production, leading to a better understanding of the production and export of organic matter in a coastal Antarctic marine ecosystem.

Field Season Overview:
During the annual LTER work at Palmer Station and onboard the science cruise, project team members will collect seawater samples on a weekly basis from October to April. Sediment traps will be deployed weekly at two depths to collect particles for determination of the ratios of Carbon to Nitrogen to Thorium 234 on sinking particles.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Michael Stukel

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs