2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Read the latest information from NSF on coronavirus (COVID-19)
2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

McMurdo LTER – Meteorology/Lakes: Ecosystem response to amplified landscape connectivity in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Photo by Emily Stone. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library.
C-511-M Research Location(s): Dry Valleys


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. Maria Vernet

ASC POC/Implementer:
Ryan Steiner / Jenny Cunningham

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Peter Doran
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
Department of Geology and Geophysics

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 (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 are studying ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. Researchers on this project will focus on the physical limnology of the McMurdo Dry Valleys lakes. They will maintain long-term, automated lake-monitoring equipment; monitor meteorological stations; and carry out manual measurements of lake properties. 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 five will work in the Dry Valleys out of camps Fryxell, Bonney, and Hoare, with day trips to Wright, Miers, and Victoria Valleys. Field sites will be accessed on foot and by helicopter day trips. The group will use field laboratory facilities as well as Crary Laboratory for equipment preparation, sample processing, and analyses. Field activities will include upgrading MCM-LTER dataloggers and equipment at 14 weather stations and four lake stations, maintenance and monitoring of the MCM-LTER meteorological network, maintenance of thermistors and conductivity sensors in moats to measure timing of melt and temporal evolution of moats for the SLIME experiment, and maintaining permanent lake monitoring stations on surface ice. Manual lake level surveys will be conducted at all Taylor Valley lakes as well as Lakes Miers, Vida, and Vanda. They will also conduct maintenance of tracking GPS stations, and service time lapse cameras that collect wide angle views of Taylor Valley for qualitative meteorological analysis and outreach. They will assist the C-505 and C-508 teams with the Autonomous Lakes Profiling and Sampling (ALPS) project at Lakes Hoare and Fryxell.

Deploying Team Members

  • Peter Doran (PI)
  • Charles Dougherty
  • Krista Myers (Team Leader)
  • Carley Ross
  • Leora Wilson