2015-2016 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2015-2016 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Assembling and mining the genomics of giant Antarctic foraminifera

Light micrograph of Astrammina triangularis, an Antarctic foraminiferan protist, showing cell body (center) encased in shell made of sand grains. Photo by: Sam Bowser


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
Sune Tamm / Elizabeth Kaufmann

Principal Investigator

Dr. Samuel Bowser

New York State Department of Health
Wadsworth Center
Schroon Lake, New York

Project Web Site:
http://www.icelabyrinth.blogspot.com External Web Site


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: New Harbor Camp / Explorers Cove / Cape Bernacchi


This project investigates the evolution, genome structure, and associated biomes of foraminiferan protists (forams) belonging to three distinct, early-evolving clades: notodendrodids, crithioninids, and astramminids. Researchers will dive under the sea ice at Explorers Cove, Cape Bernacchi, and McMurdo Station to collect forams and sediment cores. They will use next-generation sequencing (NGS) and simple microdissection methods to obtain and analyze nuclear and mitochondrial genomes of the forams. In an effort to better understand factors involved in both the large-scale and micro-scale distribution of forams, researchers will also use NGS to characterize the in-situ prokaryotic assemblages of notodendrodids and compare them to reference sediment microbiomes.

Field Season Overview

A team of six will travel by helicopter to New Harbor where they will stay at an established camp to conduct their dives. From there, they will make day trips by ATV and snowmobile to additional sea-ice dive sites. The divers plan to conduct an estimated 40 dive missions to collect forams and sediment cores.

Deploying Team Members

  • Amanda Andreas
  • Samuel Bowser (PI)
  • Paul Cziko
  • Henry Kaiser
  • Michael Koonce
  • Laura Von Rosk