2015-2016 Science Planning Summaries
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2015-2016 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

McMurdo LTER - Lakes: Increased connectivity in a polar desert resulting from climate warming: McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER Program

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Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Paul Cutler

ASC POC/Implementer:
Sune Tamm / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Peter Doran

Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
Department of Geology and Geophysics
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Project Web Site:
http://www.mcmlter.org/ External Web Site


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Dry Valleys


Initially funded in 1980, the U.S. Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1,800 scientists and students. The McMurdo LTER program is an inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary study of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the ice-free McMurdo Dry Valleys. It is one of 26 LTER sites where researchers are studying ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. Researchers on this project will focus on the physical limnology of the McMurdo Dry Valleys lakes. This year's goals are: (1) To upgrade and maintain long-term automated lake-monitoring equipment; (2) Carry out manual lake hydrologic balance measurements (lake level and ablation); (3) Measure the movement of surface ice using high-precision GPS; (4) Characterize signatures and patterns of benthic productivity (using SCUBA); and (5) Collect sediment and water samples for a suite of geochemical experiments. This six-year award cycle comprises seven collaborative projects: C-504-M (Gooseff), C-505-M (Priscu), C-506-M (Gooseff), C-507-M (Wall), C-508-M (Barrett), C-509-M (Lyons), and C-511-M (Doran).

Field Season Overview

Participants will be based at the established field camps Fryxell, Bonney, and Hoare, with an extended stay at Lake Miers, and will make day trips by helicopter to Wright and Victoria Valleys. With UNAVCO's assistance, they will also survey established ablation stakes in the Taylor Valley. Several sensors and dataloggers on the meteorological and lake stations will be swapped out and sent back to the manufacturer for recalibration. The replaced meteorological sensors and dataloggers will remain in the field for two to five years.

Deploying Team Members

  • Dimitri Acosta
  • Jade Lawrence
  • Krista Myers
  • Maciej Obryk (Team Leader)