2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Investigating Holocene shifts in the diets and paleohistory of Antarctic krill predators
Dr. Michael Polito
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
Supporting Stations: Special Project, McMurdo Station
Researchers will sample active and abandoned penguin colonies for sediments and tissues and conduct radiocarbon, stable isotope, and mercury analyses to investigate the paleohistory and diet of penguins. Sediments will be analyzed by Chinese collaborators for bio-elements from past penguin occupations. Data will be correlated with paleoclimatic signals to assess population movement and occupation history in penguins. This project will also involve international collaborations to investigate the underlying mechanisms behind shifts in the diets and paleohistory of Antarctic krill predators, in concert with climate variability and anthropogenic harvesting during the Holocene. Modern and ancient Antarctic krill predator tissues from penguins, seals, and squid recovered during this project will be combined with historic museum specimens and modern and ancient tissues available from previous paleoecological excavations.
Field Season Overview
Researchers will sample locations that have active penguin colonies in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. They will access those locations using existing collaborations with private tour ship companies.
Deploying Team Members