2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Assembling and mining the genomics of giant Antarctic foraminifera

Assembling and mining the genomics of giant Antarctic foraminifera


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Samuel Bowser

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

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: New Harbor / 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 five will travel by helicopter from McMurdo Station 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)
  • Stephen Clabuesch
  • Susan Goldstein
  • Andrew Gooday
  • Kaitlin McConnell
  • Jan Pawlowski
  • Laura Von Rosk