2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Palmer, Antarctica Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER): Land-shelf-ocean connectivity, ecosystem resilience and transformation in a sea-ice influenced pelagic ecosystem
Dr. William Ronald Fraser
Polar Oceans Research Group
Project Web Site:
Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station
Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research (PAL-LTER) started in 1990 to address the hypothesis that the annual sea ice cycle may be the major determinant of spatial/temporal changes in the structure and function of Antarctic marine communities. Research now includes bacteria, viruses, phytoplankton, krill, macrozooplankton, penguins, seabirds, and marine mammals. The PAL-LTER model traces the effects of changing climate, and the extent, duration, and seasonality of sea ice on ecosystem composition and dynamics in the Western Antarctic Peninsula, where satellite observations over the past 35 years indicate the average duration of sea ice cover is now about 90 days shorter. Six collaborative projects deploy on January’s ARSV Laurence M. Gould cruise and/or to Palmer Station. Team members use airborne and underwater vehicles, moorings, numerical modeling, oceanographic cruises, and environmental sampling to address core hypotheses.
Field Season Overview
Team members will deploy on the annual LTER cruise on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould from early January to early February. The cruise will consist of eight days of transit time to and from Punta Arenas, Chile; three days of cargo/science operations at Palmer Station; one day NOAA/NSF personnel transfer; and thirty days of LTER science operations. One component of C-013 will consist of two team members sailing on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould from late December to early February. A five-day field camp on Avian Island and day trip to Charcot Island are planned.
The second component of the project will be based at Palmer Station from late October to early April. Over the course of the season, six total team members will live at Palmer Station while conducting their research, with only four on station at any one time. The team will use small boats to access local islands in the Palmer vicinity and will make some day trips to bird colonies in the extended boating area including Dream Island, Biscoe Point, the Joubin Islands, Cape Monaco, the Wauwermans Islands and the Rosenthal Islands.
Deploying Team Members