Biology & Medicine

Dr. Polly Penhale
Program Manager


NSF/OPP Award 98-10219
Station: McMurdo Station
RPSC POC: Jessie Crain
Research Site(s): Lake Hoare, Dry Valleys, Lake Fryxell, Lake Bonney, Hjorth Hill, Garwood Valley, Don Juan Pond, Lake Vanda, Lake Vida, Victoria Valley, Wright Valley
Dates in Antarctica: Early November to early February

McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER (Long Term Ecological Research)
Dr. Peter T. Doran
University of Illinois Chicago
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Making holes in the lake ice on Lake Fryxell to collect samples. Photo by Peter Doran.
Deploying Team Members: Phil Allen . Brandy L. Anglen . Peter T. Doran . Robin Ellwood . Jackie Dee Grom
Research Objectives: The scientific and technical objectives of this project follow those of the main LTER project: Addressing the central hypothesis that "past climates in polar desert environments strongly overprint present ecosystem structure and function." This season, the group's central tasks are:

+ Maintain long-term automated lake monitoring equipment in the Dry Valleys (lake temperature, stage, etc.),

+ Carry out lake hydrologic balance measurements (lake level and ablation),

+ Further characterize the carbon and nitrogen signatures and controls in the dry valley region.

Major activities are:

+ Collect data and reset a number of long-term environmental sensors in and on the lakes.

+ Measure lake ice movements on Lake Hoare using GPS.

+ Collect surface sediment, water, and microbial mats from surrounding streams and lakes for biogeochemical analyses.

+ Dive in Lake Hoare to perform benthic ecology and sedimentology experiments.

The group works out in Crary Lab and out of established field camps, Fryxell, Bonney, and Hoare, with planned day trips to Wright and Victoria Valleys. They This also oversee the recollection of a sediment addition experiment (one of the original LTER experiments) which is resampled by divers every other year.