2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
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2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Investigating Holocene shifts in the diets and paleohistory of Antarctic krill predators (Argentine collaboration)

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Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
Matthew Erickson / Cara Ferrier

Principal Investigator

Dr. Michael Polito

Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: Special Project
Research Locations: Potter Peninsula / King George Island


The focus of this project, current and abandoned penguin colonies, will provide insight to the shifting interface between the ocean, shore, and ice by using radiocarbon dating to determine exactly when colonies were formed and abandoned over hundreds to thousands of years. Researchers will use stable isotope analysis of ancient and modern tissues to compare past penguin diets with those of present-day penguins for evidence of major dietary shifts.

Field Season Overview

The science team will deploy to Antarctica with support from the Argentine Antarctic Program and will be supported from their base, Carlini Station, on King George Island. Their fieldwork will include recovering modern and ancient tissue samples from Antarctic krill predators (penguins, seals, and squid). They will collect these samples from sediment at several different sites. Sediment from each stratigraphic level will be quantified by volume and washed through nested screens. All fine sediment will be transported to the laboratory for additional processing and sorting.

Deploying Team Members

  • Steven Emslie (Co-PI)
  • Steven Emslie (Co-PI)