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
Synergistic effects of iron, carbon dioxide, and temperature on the fate of nitrate: Implications for future changes in export production in the Southern Ocean

Program Manager:
Dr. Charles Amsler


ASC POC/Implementer:
Addie Coyac / Cara Sucher

Dr. Andrew Allen (Principal Investigator)

J. Craig Venter Institute
San Diego, California

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  McMurdo Sound

Project Description:
This project uses a novel combination of research approaches to evaluate the effects of temperature, carbon dioxide, and iron on three ecologically and biogeochemically critical Southern Ocean phytoplankton functional groups: Large centric diatoms, small pennate diatoms, and Phaeocystis antarctica. Dominance shifts among these three major algal groups have very different consequences for nutrient and carbon biogeochemistry in the rapidly changing Antarctic marine environments. Researchers aim to understand how the individual and combined influences of these three variables affect Southern Ocean phytoplankton community structure and to determine how these assemblage-level responses are linked to fundamental cellular responses at the levels of nutrient physiology and gene expression. The goal is to build a knowledge base of polar phytoplankton genomics and physiology.

Field Season Overview:
A team of ten will be based on station and make day trips by helicopter to McMurdo Sound near the edge of the first year ice. They will filter water for RNA and DNA samples and collect water samples for incubation experiments in Crary lab. The incubation experiments must be initiated the same day that the water is collected. The experiment will take place outside the lab and will run for about three weeks. Additional samples will be collected during this time.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Andrew Allen (PI)
  • Erin Bertrand
  • Erin Bertrand
  • Deborah Bronk (Co-PI)
  • Jeffrey Hoffman
  • David Hutchins (Co-PI)
  • Jeff McQuaid
  • Rachel Sipler
  • Jenna Spackeen
  • Nathan Walworth
  • Kai Xu

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