San Jose State University
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Moss Landing, California
Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Cape Royds / Ice Runway / Sea Ice / Crary Lab
This project will focus on food web interactions of three dominant predators, Adélie penguins, minke whales, and the fish-eating Ross Sea killer whales, all of which exert foraging pressure on their main prey—crystal krill and silver fish. The annual arrival of an icebreaker to open a channel through fast ice to McMurdo Station (20 km from ice edge) provides a large-scale “natural” experiment for investigations of predator effects on prey distributions. Thousands of penguins and dozens of whales follow the ship, foraging to either side of the channel to the extent of their breath-holding ability. This work will provide a baseline study that is a necessary start to a multi-disciplinary investigation.
Field Season Overview:
Through Jiffy-drilled holes in the fast ice, project researchers will deploy SCINI (Submersible Capable of under Ice Navigation and Imaging), a video- and acoustic-capable remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with environmental sensors. They will collect ice cores (using a SIPRE auger) and water samples (using Niskin bottles) to quantify the abundance and distribution of phytoplankton, sea ice biota, and prey before the icebreaker arrives. The sampling protocol will be repeated three times: Before the channel is broken, during channel work and immediately after. During the entire field deployment, project team members and their collaborators (Ainley B-0310) will tag and track penguins and whales to examine the interactions between upper and lower trophic levels. Project divers will dive at established sites in McMurdo Sound to sample shallow benthic communities to continue their long-term dataset.
Deploying Team Members:
Kendra Daly (Co-PI)
Stacy Kim (PI)