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

Project Title

Palmer, Antarctica Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER): Land-shelf-ocean connectivity, ecosystem resilience and transformation in a sea-ice influenced pelagic ecosystem

no photo available
C-019-L/P Research Location(s): LTER study site


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1440435

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Jamee Johnson / Bruce Felix

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Oscar Schofield
Rutgers University
Institute for Marine & Coastal Sciences
New Brunswick, New Jersey

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station
Research Locations: LTER study site


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

Phytoplankton and Optics Component: One component of the C-019 team will sail on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould to the LTER research grid. At sea they will use net and acoustic tows, conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) casts, Slocum gliders, and other profiling sensors to assess phytoplankton community structure and abundance. The other component of the team, based at Palmer Station, will: (1) maintain the Palmer phytoplankton time series measurements at LTER stations B and E; (2) launch several gliders; (3) use the EK-80 sonar on the new rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to assess how plankton communities change spatially and temporally; (4) use a new imaging flowcytobot to take pictures of individual phytoplankton cells; and (5) conduct video-conferences with K-12th-grade classrooms.

Deploying Team Members

  • Schuyler Nardelli
  • Nicole Waite
  • Marie Zahn