University of Illinois Urbana
Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, McMurdo Station, Palmer Station
Research Locations: McMurdo Sound
This project studies the two intertwined adaptive phenotypes of Antarctic notothenioid fish evolved for cold survival: The ability to avoid freezing and the system-wide ability to perform normal daily cellular and physiological functions at freezing temperatures. In the field, researchers will collect fish and keep them at ambient temperatures to determine how much ice is in the spleen. These results will be compared to results from Palmer Station where the temperatures are milder and ice is present during the winter. Field work also includes collecting tissue and blood samples that will be returned to the home institution for genomic analysis and transcriptonimic studies. The transcriptonomic data and additional resources to be developed will also support Antarctic fish genome sequencing projects that have commenced in collaboration with the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) independent of this award.
Field Season Overview:
Seven project participants will deploy to McMurdo this austral summer season. Next year in the austral spring (July-August), six project participants will deploy to Palmer Station onboard the LMG. During day-trips to the sea ice, team members will collect specimens by trap and hook-and-line fishing through Jiffy drill holes, as well as diving through dive holes to collect notothenioid fishes from McMurdo Sound. They will fish for the Antarctic toothfish ( Dissostichus mawsoni) using a winched vertical line, to obtain a complete set of all tissues for transcriptome sequencing to generate a comprehensive reference transcriptome for this species. The team will collect data from CTD loggers (conductivity, temperature, depth) and will deploy temperature-depth recorders that will be retrieved by staff divers two years later in 2014-15. Several of the field experiments require the coldest possible flow-through ambient seawater to ensure that environment ice crystals in experimental fish are not inadvertently melted. A fish hut on the jetty will serve as a portable extreme-cold water aquarium to keep the experimental fish and carry out the studies.
Deploying Team Members:
Chi-Hing Christina Cheng (PI)
Art DeVries (Co-PI)