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-045-L/P Research Location(s): West Antarctic Peninsula


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. Francisco (Paco) Moore

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Bruce Felix / Jamee Johnson

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Benjamin Van Mooy
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station
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 West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), 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

Palmer Station

Participants will be included the the core PAL-LTER sampling at Station E. Activities will include: 1) PAL-LTER sampling trips and assist the penguin/whale group as needed; 2) conducting seawater incubation experiments; 3) collecting ice core samples from seasonal sea-ice and/or fast-ice; 4) collecting live krill; 5) collecting penguin stomach contents and feces; and 6) twice weekly trips with other PAL-LTER groups into the Palmer Deep Canyon (Adelie penguin foraging area) and Bismarck Strait (gentoo penguin foraging).

ARSV Laurence M. Gould

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. They will conduct several two to three day Process Studies in selected areas to study key processes in greater detail than possible at the regular grid stations. They will also sample seasonal sea-ice to assess the input of calorie-rich phytoplankton biomass into the WAP marine ecosystem. They will also conduct on-deck incubations to investigate stress responses of phytoplankton throughout the WAP in collaboration with the Schofield group. Incubations will be conducted throughout the cruise and may require additional CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) casts to collect water.

Deploying Team Members

  • Shavonna Bent
  • Mackenzie Curtice
  • Henry Holm
  • Aidan Kenny
  • Daniel Lowenstein
  • Benjamin Van Mooy (PI)