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

Project Title

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

Photo by Brian Minnear, courtesy of the USAP Photo Library.
C-509-M Research Location(s): Dry Valleys


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. Maria Vernet

ASC POC/Implementer:
Ryan Steiner / Jenny Cunningham

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Diane M McKnight
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)

Project Web Site:
http://huey.colorado.edu/diatoms/about/diatoms.php; https://mcm.lternet.edu/


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 (MCM-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 both water and solid samples collected from Dry Valleys glaciers, streams, ponds, lakes, and land. They also study upland seeps and ponds to gain a better understanding of their hydrologic and geochemical controls. This six-year award cycle is comprised of 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

A team of four researchers will work out of F6 and Lake Hoare camps. They will survey and sample established algal transects in the Taylor, Wright, Garwood and Miers Valleys and at Cape Royds. Some sites in Taylor Valley will be accessed on foot, others will be accessed by helicopter day trips. The group will use laboratory space at field camps to filter and process samples. Following field deployment, the group will continue to process samples and prepare them for shipment in Crary Laboratory. Field activities will include regular monitoring at 16 established algal transects and establishing new algal transects at Popplewell and Commonwealth Streams and Wharton Creek. They will conduct terrestrial LiDAR scans of the stream algal transects with assistance from UNAVCO. Five to six transects will be scanned each year, resulting in all established transects being scanned on a three-year cycle. The team will also survey transplanted rocks that were moved from one stream in the 2017/2018 season (the Stream Mat Transplant Experiment), remove marker stakes from former experiments at sites in the Fryxell Basin, and will assist the Gooseff (C-506-M) team with their stream monitoring efforts.

Deploying Team Members

  • Natalie Aranda
  • Diane McKnight (PI)
  • Lydia Zeglin
  • Angela Zoumplis