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

Project Title

Production and fate of oxylipins in waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula: Linkages between UV radiation, lipid peroxidation, and carbon cycling

Bringing plankton from under the ice into the light to understand their response to UVR.
Photo by: James Collins
B-032-L Research Location(s): Arthur Harbor / Sea Ice Edge


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns / Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
David Rivera / Jamee Johnson

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Benjamin Van Mooy
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry
Woods Hole, Massachusetts


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould
Research Locations: Arthur Harbor / Sea Ice Edge


Ozone depletion over Antarctica leads to high levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun reaching the ocean's surface. This is predicted to continue for the next half century, despite bans on ozone-destroying pollutants. Phytoplankton in the near-surface ocean are subjected to variable amounts of UVR and contain a lot of lipids. Because phytoplankton are at the base of the food chain, the lipids make their way into the Antarctic marine ecosystem's food web. The molecular structures of phytoplankton lipids are easily altered by UVR. When this happens, the lipids can be transformed from healthy into potentially harmful molecules known to be disruptive to reproduction and development. This project will answer questions about the extent to which UVR damages lipid molecules and how the resultant molecules might affect the Southern-Ocean food chain.

Field Season Overview

A team of three researchers will deploy on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould for a 14- day cruise in November 2018 that will include sea-ice-algae sample collection, drifting sediment-trap deployments, conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) casts, and plankton net tows. Samples collected from the sea-ice-edge blooms, Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) phytoplankton communities, MIZ zooplankton, and sinking particulate matter are the foci of the cruise. Zooplankton will be collected on the last day of the cruise and maintained in the aquarium facilities at Palmer Station for experimentation. Two participants will stay on station for an additional two weeks to complete this work. Rebecca Trinh, a PAL LTER graduate student, will also participate as a member of the team on the LMG.

Deploying Team Members

  • Benjamin Van Mooy (PI)