2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Biology & Medicine

Dr. Polly Penhale
Program Manager


NSF/OPP 98-10219
Station: McMurdo Station
Research Site(s): Taylor Valley

McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER: The role of natural legacy on ecosystem structure and function in a polar desert
Dr. Peter T. Doran
University of Illinois, Chicago
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Deploying Team Members: Peter T Doran . Peter J Glenday . Fabian Kenig . Jennifer L Lawson . David Mazzucchi . Maria Uhle . Bernd Wagner
Research Objectives: Paleoclimatology, paleoecology, meteorology component of McMurdo LTER. A critical part of the LTER legacy research will be carried out this season. The group will extract long sediment cores from the Taylor Valley lakes and analyzing sediment from these cores to directly assess legacy.

These analyses will also tie into another project that extracts paleoclimatic information from these sediment cores. This group also oversees the recollection of a sediment addition experiment (one of the original LTER experiments I) which is resampled by divers every other year.

Field Season Overview:
The researchers plan to characterize carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures and carry out hydrologic balance measurements in Dry Valley lakes. They will also maintain and collect data from long-term automated lake monitoring equipment and long-term benthic experiments.

In the Dry Valleys, project team members will collect lake ice and glacial ice cores. From lake and pond moats and from stream mouths, they will collect microbial mat samples, water samples, and moat sediment cores. Using precision GPS receivers, they will measure debris movement on the ice cover of Lake Hoare. From McMurdo Station, team members will travel by helicopter or tracked vehicle to the Ross Ice Shelf where they will collect ice cores.