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

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

Taylor Valley, Antarctica, site of the NSF McMurdo Dry Valley LTER. Soil team sampling.
Photo by: Tandra Fraser


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Paul Cutler

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Diana Wall

Colorado State University
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
Fort Collins, Colorado

Project 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 focusing on soils will maintain (through application of water and nutrients), monitor (soil moisture and temperature), and sample in their long-term experimental plots near Lakes Bonney, Fryxell, and Hoare. The project aims to determine the impacts of natural factors and those associated with potential climate change on the abundance, distribution, and diversity of soil biota. 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 travel by helicopter for brief (one to seven days) trips to the Dry Valleys for monitoring, maintenance and sampling of their long term experiments. They will also collect soil samples to support developing work on the N and P cycles, turnover of organic matter, and moss-soil interactions in the field. They will return to the Crary Laboratory at McMurdo Station for sample processing and initial analysis, as well as to perform incubation assays on selected soils.

Deploying Team Members

  • Byron Adams (Co-PI)
  • Walter Andriuzzi
  • John Barrett (Co-PI)
  • Daniel Bransford
  • Joshua Heward
  • Andrew Thompson
  • Ross Virginia (Co-PI)
  • Diana Wall (PI)