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

Project Title

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

The McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research project continues to study how this polar desert ecosystem functions and how it will change.
C-505-M Research Location(s): Dry Valleys


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1637708

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns

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

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. John Priscu
Montana State University Bozeman
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
Bozeman, Montana

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: 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

Limnology: A four-person research team will travel to and from the Dry Valleys by helicopter. The group will rotate through various field camps with a final stay at Lake Hoare in January. They will work from Polarhaven tents erected on Lakes Fryxell, Bonney, and Hoare and will drill and melt holes in lake ice underneath and nearby these structures to access the water. The researchers will also conduct similar work under a Scott tent at Lake Miers. They will use radioisotopes at field sites, at the fixed camps, and in Crary Laboratory. Field activities will include conducting “limno runs” (collecting lake water from various depths to create a profile of the lakes' basic chemical and physical parameters) and managing sediment traps deployed in Lakes Bonney and Hoare.

Deploying Team Members

  • Amy Chiuchiolo (Team Leader)
  • Carolynn Harris
  • David Robinson