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

Project Title

McMurdo LTER – Algal Ops: 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-509-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. Michael N Gooseff
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
Boulder, Colorado

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. Geochemistry researchers monitor the inorganic geochemistry of water and solid samples collected from Dry Valleys' glaciers, streams, ponds, lakes, and landscape. They also study upland seeps and ponds to gain a better understanding of their hydrologic and geochemical controls. 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

Algal Ops: Researchers will work out of the F6 and Lake Hoare camps in the Dry Valleys and will access sites by helicopter and on foot. They will survey and sample established algal transects in the Taylor, Wright, Garwood, and Miers Valleys and will use laboratory space at field camps to filter and process samples for transport to Crary Laboratory. Field activities may include: (1) surveying and sampling all 16 established algal transects; (2) continuing work on the Stream Mat Transplant Experiment (SMTE); (3) conducting terrestrial LiDAR surveys of the algal transects with assistance from UNAVCO; and (4) deploying sediment traps on lake surfaces to capture Aeolian deposits with C-505-M (Priscu).

Deploying Team Members

  • Renee Brown
  • Joshua Darling (Team Leader)
  • Diane McKnight (Team Leader)