2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Investigating Holocene shifts in the diets and paleohistory of Antarctic krill predators

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Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
David Rivera / Curt Labombard

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Michael Polito
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Supporting Stations: Special Project
Research Locations: Carlini (Arg) and Great Wall (China) Stations on King George Island


Researchers will sample active and abandoned penguin colonies for sediments and tissues and conduct radiocarbon, stable isotope, and mercury analyses to investigate the paleohistory and diet of penguins. Sediments will be analyzed by Chinese collaborators for bio-elements from past penguin occupations. Data will be correlated with paleoclimatic signals to assess population movement and occupation history in penguins. This project will also involve international collaborations to investigate the underlying mechanisms behind shifts in the diets and paleohistory of Antarctic krill predators, in concert with climate variability and anthropogenic harvesting during the Holocene. Modern and ancient Antarctic krill predator tissues from penguins, seals, and squid recovered during this project will be combined with historic museum specimens and modern and ancient tissues available from previous paleoecological excavations.

Field Season Overview

All support while in the field will be conducted in collaboration with cruise-ship companies and international partners. USAP support is primarily limited to providing physical qualification and travel support to and from the ports of departure for three participants. An additional three participants are scheduled to deploy for one of the field seasons through an international collaboration. These three participants will deploy to Carlini Station (Argentina) and Great Wall Station (China) in the King George Island vicinity, primarily through the support of an Argentine collaboration. The principal investigator (PI) requests northbound USAP sample shipment support on a case-by-case basis. Support will be limited to when samples are delivered directly by project participants to support contractor cargo personnel at Palmer Station or the ARSV Laurence M. Gould. No USAP extreme cold weather gear or camping equipment is required.

Deploying Team Members

  • Kelton McMahon (Co-PI)
  • Kelton McMahon (Co-PI)
  • Chantel Michelson
  • Chantel Michelson
  • Michael Polito (PI)
  • Michael Polito (PI)