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
Microbe-metazoan interactions in an Antarctic infaunal community

Program Manager:
Dr. Diana Nemergut


ASC POC/Implementer:
Elizabeth Watson / Beverly Walker

Dr. Andrew Thurber (Principal Investigator)

Oregon State University
College of Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences
Corvallis, Oregon

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Cape Armitage / Crary Aquarium

Project Description:
This project aims to identify the role of naturally occurring bacteria in the long term persistence of an Antarctic soft-sediment community. Using collected sediment cores kept intact in the aquarium, researchers will remove bacterial activity and add phytoplankton to identify how carbon is passed to the animals throughout the different seasons at McMurdo. It is thought that that during the initial deposition of food that the bacteria and the animals compete for the same food source but as the winter sets in the bacteria are able to sustain the communities through breaking down less and less digestible food sources.

Field Season Overview:
The field party will deploy at Winfly and collect cores as soon as possible off of Cape Armitage. It is important that these samples are collected prior to onset of spring. A variety of sediment cores will be kept in the Crary Aquarium with a flow through seawater system in the dark for six weeks and undergo manipulative treatments including antibiotics addition and adding pregrown freeze-dried phytoplankton (that is native to the Antarctic). Samples will be taken throughout, frozen or preserved for microbial community analysis and a subset will be sorted under a dissecting scope live. Periodic resampling of the sediment community will occur through November and a second short deployment will occur during early February to collect additional samples.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Andrew Thurber (PI)
  • Rory Welsh

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