2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
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Life in a volcanic landscape: Early Jurassic paleoenvironments and paleobotany
Jurassic fern fossil from Carapace Nunatak. Photo courtesy of Edie Taylor. 

Program Manager:
Dr. Mark Kurz


ASC POC/Implementer:
Elizabeth Watson / Jessica Jenkins

Dr. Edith Taylor (Principal Investigator)

University of Kansas Lawrence
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Lawrence, Kansas

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Southern Victoria Land

Project Description:
The record of Jurassic plant life in continental Antarctica is sparse, possibly due to tectonic and magmatic activity associated with the breakup of Gondwana and the emplacement of the Ferrar Large Igneous Province. This project will examine early Jurassic floras and paleoenvironments in Southern Victoria Land using sedimentology, stratigraphy, geochemistry, and paleobotany. The work will provide much-needed baseline data on the composition of the floras as well as the depositional and growth environments of these southernmost floras. The data will contribute to understanding plant life and paleoenvironment in Antarctica during a time of increasing volcanism and will provide floral information that can be compared to other, better known floras elsewhere in Gondwana.

Field Season Overview:
Participants will deploy to a deep field camp at Carapace Nunatak in Southern Victoria Land for several weeks. They will collect fossil plants and conduct reconnaissance of one or two other known Jurassic-age sites in Southern Victoria Land (Allan Hills or Coombs Hills). Collected specimens will be returned to the home institution for processing and analysis.

Deploying Team Members:

  • David Buchanan
  • Anne-Laure Decombeix
  • Erik Gulbranson (Co-PI)
  • John Isbell (Co-PI)
  • Patricia Ryberg (Team Leader)
  • Rudolph Serbet (Team Leader)
  • Brian Staite

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