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

Project Title

McMurdo LTER – Limnology: Ecosystem response to amplified landscape connectivity in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Ice coring on Commonwealth Glacier to study organic matter trapped in the ice.
Photo by John C. Priscu, Montana State University


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1637708

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jenny Cunningham / Elizabeth Kauffman / Jennifer Blum

Principal Investigator

Dr. John Priscu

Montana State University Bozeman
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
Bozeman, Montana

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: McMurdo Dry Valleys


Initially funded in 1980, the U.S. Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network is a collaborative effort of more than 1,800 scientists and students. The McMurdo LTER program is a multi-disciplinary aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems study in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. It is one of 26 LTER sites where researchers study ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. Researchers focusing on lakes will continue their long-term measurements of biological, chemical, and physical limnological properties of Dry Valley lakes and lake ice, with special emphasis on LTER core research areas. This six-year award cycle comprises seven collaborative projects: C-504-M (Gooseff), C-505-M (Priscu), C-506-M (Gooseff), C-507-M (Adams), C-508-M (Takacs-Vesbach), C-509-M (Gooseff), and C-511-M (Doran).

Field Season Overview

Six participants will deploy between 20 October and 25 January. The group will rotate twice through Dry Valleys field camps (Fryxell, Miers, Hoare, Bonney) from early November through mid-December, with a final stay at Lake Hoare in early January. A Polarhaven will be set at five locations: Lakes Fryxell, Hoare, Bonney (East and West lobes), and Miers. The team will drill and melt holes in lake ice underneath these structures and in other areas of lakes to access the water. They will use radioisotopes at field sites (in Polarhavens), at the field camps, and in Crary Laboratory. Between field rotations, the team will be based in Crary Laboratory.

Deploying Team Members

  • Heather Buelow
  • Amy Chiuchiolo (Team Leader)
  • Peter Kibler
  • Wei Li
  • Madelyne Willis