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. Hugh William Ducklow
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. There will also be a one day annual visit to the UK station, Rothera. While at sea, the team will conduct repeated sampling with the conductivity temperature depth (CTD) rosette and nets at historical LTER grid stations; and recovery and redeployment of one or two moored sediment traps at LTER-specified sites.
At Palmer Station, two participants will deploy water column profiling and sampling instruments at LTER Stations B and E, using both rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) and Zodiacs. Their sampling will be in cooperation with the C-019-P/Schofield group using a shared vessel, twice per week. They will incubate their seawater samples in the Environmental Room, and will also conduct work in Lab 3 and in the Radioisotope Laboratory.
Deploying Team Members