2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
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2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Investigating iron-binding ligands in Southern Ocean diatom communities: The role of diatom-bacteria associations

no photo available


Event Number:
NSF/PLR Award 1443474

Program Manager:
Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
Matthew Erickson / Adam Jenkins

Principal Investigator

Dr. Bethany Diane Jenkins

University of Rhode Island
Richmond, Rhode Island


Supporting Stations: RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer
Research Locations: Western Antarctic Peninsula


This project will combine expertise in trace-metal biogeochemistry, phytoplankton cultivation, and molecular biology to address questions regarding iron-binding ligand production and the role of diatom-bacterial interactions in a well-established iron-limited region, the Southern Ocean. Team members will conduct field-incubation experiments in both the low-iron, high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll waters of the Drake Passage and in the naturally iron-enriched waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula. They will conduct the incubations in early austral spring and will collect all seawater for experiments with trace-metal-clean sampling and techniques to minimize contamination risks. They will conduct three incubation experiments over the course of one cruise using shipboard incubators set to the ambient seawater temperature and light cycles.

Field Season Overview

Fieldwork includes repeated seawater collection with trace metal and conventional sampling conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) rosettes at three stations for a series of shipboard incubation experiments designed around ambient biological communities. The team will use three weeks of ship time aboard the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP) for their shipboard field incubation experiments. At the start of the cruise, the science team will sample an offshore station in the South Drake Passage. At the beginning of the second week, they will sample an inshore station within the Palmer-Long-Term Ecological Research (PAL-LTER) inshore sampling grid, and at the beginning of the third week, they will resample the initial South Drake Passage site to complete their third incubation experiment.

Deploying Team Members

  • Kristen Buck (Co-PI)
  • Phoebe Chappell (Co-PI)
  • Laura Filliger
  • Bethany Jenkins (PI)