2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Biology & Medicine

Dr. Polly Penhale
Program Manager


NSF/OPP 98-10219
Station: McMurdo Station
Research Site(s): Dry Valleys, Lake Hoare, Lake Bonney, Lake Fryxell, Beacon Valley

McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER: The role of natural legacy on ecosystem structure and function in a polar desert
Dr. Diana H. Wall
Colorado State University
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

Deploying Team Members: Gina Adams . Steve W Blecker . Andrew N Parsons . Dorota L Porazinska . Diana H Wall
Research Objectives: Soil productivity component of McMurdo LTER. The group will continue to maintain (through application of water and nutrients), monitor (soil moisture and temperature) and sample (soils) in our various long-term experimental plots near Lakes Fryxell, Hoare and Bonney. The overall goal is to determine the impacts of natural factors and those associated with potential climate change on the abundance, distribution, and diversity of soil biota.

Field Season Overview:
Based in McMurdo, the team will make day trips by helicopter to study sites in the Dry Valleys, where they will conduct experiments and collect samples. They will sometimes stay for 2-3 days at established Dry Valley camps to conduct microscopy and other studies. The researchers plan to use sediment traps and other instruments to collect samples. Tasks include:

- Sampling new eolian sediment traps set up last field season.

- Follow up last year's extremely wet season by re-sampling areas identified as sites where moisture seeped to the surface for the first time for years.

- Gather data regarding the sources and cycling of carbon through carbon dioxide respiration work in the field (Taylor Valley) and radioisotope work in the Crary Lab.