2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

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

no photo available
C-508-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. Cristina Takacs-Vesbach
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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 are studying ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. This event will focus on microbial ecology, activity, and biodiversity across a variety of Dry Valleys' habitats, including soils, streams, and lakes. 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

Integrative Science: Research team members will reside at fixed camps and access field sites by helicopter and on foot. They will process and analyze some samples in the field but will also perform work in Crary Laboratory, with radioisotopes used in some analyses. The team will also conduct diving operations in Lakes Bonney and Fryxell. Field activities may include: (1) collecting soils, lake water, and sampling microbial mats; (2) diving and snorkeling in moats to deploy benthic chambers, collect benthic mat and sediment samples, and conduct surveys; (3) recording cyanobacterial mat locations in the moats of Lakes Bonney and Fryxell; and (4) conducting the Lake Integrated Connectivity Experiment (LICE) and the transplant Lake Integrated Connectivity Experiment (tLICE).

Deploying Team Members

  • Shawn Devlin (Team Leader)
  • Isha Kalra
  • Kathryn Penzkover
  • Shasten Sherwell