2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Biological adaptations to environmental change in Antarctica - an advanced training program for early-career scientists

NSF Antarctic Biology Training Program participants collecting plankton on the sea ice near McMurdo Station.
Photo by Deneb Karentz


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
Matthew Erickson / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Donal Manahan

University of Southern California
Department of Biological Sciences
Los Angeles, California


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Bratina Island / Cape Evans (ASPA 155) / Dry Valleys / Ross Ice Shelf / McMurdo sea ice


This science event is an international, advanced Ph.D. training course that was taught at Palmer Station during the 2016 austral winter (July-August) and will be held at McMurdo Station during the austral 2017-18 austral summer (December -February). Between 1993 and 2010, the program has deployed participants nine times to McMurdo Station in January. The goal of the course is to introduce early-career scientists to the diversity of biological organisms in the Antarctic and to study unique aspects of biology that permit life in such extreme environments. This project will give scientists who are new to the Antarctic the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the logistical possibilities and constraints of working in this extreme environment. Course participants will develop experiments and attend lectures focusing on understanding the ecology and biological adaptations of Antarctic organisms.

Field Season Overview

The science team will deploy from late December through early February with a majority of participants on ice for the month of January. An advance team will set up labs and field sites, and a few people will stay after the main group for final clean up.They will drill holes into annual sea ice at various field locations (e.g., near the Ross Ice Shelf, the sea water intake jetty, Cape Evans) to conduct water sampling. Helicopters will provide the team some support for trips to Cape Evans, some sea ice locations and to the ice edge, but they will access most sites by snow mobile or other tracked vehicles. They will use Crary Lab facilities for nearly all of the sample analyses.

Deploying Team Members

  • Douglas Bartlett
  • Mark Denny
  • Deneb Karentz
  • Samuel Laney
  • Donal Manahan (PI)
  • Robert Shadwick