2020-2021 Science Planning Summaries
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2020-2021 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Physical mechanisms driving food web focusing on Antarctic biological hotspots

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B-005-L Research Location(s): Palmer Deep


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Maria Vernet

ASC POC/Implementer:
Rachel Shackelford / Cara Ferrier

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Josh Kohut
Rutgers University
Institute for Marine & Coastal Sciences
New Brunswick, New Jersey


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould
Research Locations: Palmer Deep


Undersea canyons are important oceanic biological hotspots and are critical for understanding coastal ecosystems. Observations of currents over Palmer Deep canyon indicate that surface phytoplankton blooms enter and exit the local hotspot on scales of ~1-2 days. This time of residence is in conflict with the prevailing idea that canyon-associated hotspots are primarily maintained by the upwelling of nutrient-rich deep water that fuels local phytoplankton growth. Instead, the implication is that horizontal ocean circulation is likely more important to maintaining these biological hotspots than local upwelling and its physical concentrating effects. Researchers on this project are integrating a modeling and field program to target the processes responsible for transporting and concentrating phytoplankton and krill biomass to known penguin foraging locations.

Field Season Overview

The sub surface mooring deployed last season will be recovered this season to prevent loss of equipment and data. Therefore, the science team will coordinate with Palmer-Long Term Ecological Research (PAL-LTER) team members and ASC contractors to recover their sub surface mooring deployed near the head of Palmer Deep on the LMG21-01 cruise. The mooring is located at -64.8436° S; -64.1173° W. The recovery will require approximately six hours of ship time and will use the ship's crane. Vessel technicians will download the data from the sensors and prepare it for shipment north. No team members will deploy to Antarctica for this project this season.