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
Collaborative Research: Microbial Community Assembly in Coastal Waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula

Program Manager:
Dr. Diana Nemergut


ASC POC/Implementer:
Philip Spindler / Samina Ouda

Dr. Linda Angela Amaral Zettler (Principal Investigator)

Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL)
Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Supporting Stations:  Palmer Station
Research Locations:  Palmer Station

Project Description:
The general plan includes a departure from Valparaiso, Chile. The cruise track is attached in "my project files", and includes a 2000 n-mi sampling cruise track to the northwest of Chile, and a short cruise track to the southwest of Arica, Chile. The locations for an extended 5-day station will be selected underway. Peruvian and Chilean EEZ permits have been applied for to work in these waters if a sampling site is picked in Peruvian or Chilean waters. The 5 day process stations will include CTDs to collect water for different experiments and the deployment of floating sediment traps and in situ incubators. During the 5-day station, we will deploy 4 sediment traps that contain GPS tracking system. We will follow the sediment traps as they drift with currents.

Field Season Overview:
This team requests a 33 day cruise on the Nathaniel B Palmer (NBP), departing from Valparaiso, Chile to study the low oxygen water column in the Eastern tropical South Pacific. We are studying microbial nitrogen transformations, which are unique to this region. In the absence of oxygen (approximately 100 - 600 m water column depth), different microbes flourish than the microbes in oxygenated water columns, and we are trying to find out what microbes are there, what are their rates of metabolic activity, and how do their activities affect not just the local water column chemistry, but the entire global ocean. The cruise will deploy approximately 150 CTDs to collect water samples for dissolved oxygen and nutrient analysis over 50 stations. Two of the sample sites will be occupied for several days for extensive experimental work. These sites will be chosen based on hydrography and water-column oxygen content. Floating sediment traps will be deployed, and rate measurements using stable isotope tracers will be conducted. The cruise cargo will be sent to the port of departure by the Principal Investigator using a ship agent of their choice. An exception will be made for compressed gases and chemicals. They will be shipped via the USAP cargo system (Pt. Hueneme to Punta Arenas, Chile) prior to the vessel’s departure from Punta Arenas. The PI may decide to return to Arica for a passenger exchange during the cruise – the transit time for this passenger exchange will be taken out of the 33 cruise days.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Linda Amaral Zettler (PI)
  • Sharon Grim
  • Sarah Laperriere
  • Catherine Luria
  • Erik Zettler

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