2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Palmer, Antarctica Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER): land-shelf-ocean connectivity, and ecosystem resilience and transformation, in a sea-ice influenced pelagic ecosystem

Photo by Peter Rejcek, courtesy of the USAP Photo Library.
C-021-L Research Location(s): West Antarctic Peninsula


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. Francisco (Paco) Moore

ASC POC/Implementer:
David Rivera / Bruce Felix

Principal Investigator(s)

Mr. Carlos F Moffat
University of Delaware

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould
Research Locations: West Antarctic Peninsula


Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research (PAL-LTER) started in 1990 to address the hypothesis that the annual sea-ice cycle may be the major determinant of spatial/temporal changes in the structure and function of Antarctic marine communities. Research now includes bacteria, viruses, phytoplankton, krill, macrozooplankton, penguins, seabirds, and marine mammals. The PAL-LTER model traces the effects of changing climate and the extent, duration, and seasonality of sea ice on ecosystem composition and dynamics in the Western Antarctic Peninsula, where satellite observations over the past 35 years indicate the average duration of sea ice cover is now about 90 days shorter. Six collaborative projects on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould (LMG) cruise and at Palmer Station will use moorings, numerical modeling, oceanographic cruises, and environmental sampling to address core hypotheses.

Field Season Overview

The sampling region extends from Palmer Station south to Charcot Island and from onshore to the continental shelf break adjacent to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. It also includes stations spanning from King George Island to Palmer Station. Ecological and biogeochemical processes are studied by combining the ship and zodiac measurements with data collected from drifting sediment traps and physical oceanographic moorings to expand sampling capabilities in space and time. They will deploy autonomous gliders. Researchers will conduct several two to three day Process Studies in selected areas to study key processes in greater detail than possible at the regular grids stations. They will collaborate with Steinberg (C-020-L) for basic support and Moffat (O-263-L) to deploy the gliders off Adelaide Island during the PAL-LTER cruise.

Deploying Team Members

  • Frederike Benz
  • Carlos Moffat (PI)
  • Evan Quinter