2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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Postdoctoral research fellowship

Program Manager:
Dr. Charles Amsler

Event Number: B-018-P

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Jamee Johnson

Dr. Shelley R Bench (Principal Investigator)

Stanford University
Environmental Earth System Science
San Jose, California

Supporting Stations:  Palmer Station
Research Locations:  Station B / Palmer Lab

Project Description:
The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is undergoing some of the most dramatic warming on the globe, with correspondingly rapid ecosystem changes. Research, especially from work carried out by the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, has shown that resulting changes are occurring to phytoplankton of WAP waters, but few details are known about species composition and metabolic activity. Therefore, this three-year project will be based on high-throughput DNA sequencing of the phytoplankton community, followed by design and fabrication of microarrays to assess phytoplankton community composition and metabolism. In order to capture the intra-annual community changes, samples will be collected by filtering off-shore water at regular intervals throughout the entire austral summer season (October to April). The goal this year is to collect high-biomass and high-quality phytoplankton samples for DNA and RNA sequencing. Finally, the microarrays will be put to use to identify temporal and spatial changes in phytoplankton in the short-term, and the designs will be made available to the research community for monitoring the ecosystem in the long term.

Field Season Overview:
One field team member will collect water samples once or twice weekly from 10m depth. Most sampling will be done at a single offshore station using a submersible pump or Go-Flo bottles from a Zodiac inflatable boat. Samples will be collected twice weekly. In addition, samples will be collected from a subset of stations in the sampling grid during the annual LTER cruise on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould. While on station, the PI will train other scientists on station in the collection and processing protocols, so sampling can continue once weekly while the PI is on the LTER cruise and for the last few weeks of the field season.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Shelley Bench (PI)

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