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

Project Title

Genetic underpinnings of microbial interactions in chemically stratified Antarctic lakes

Lake Fryxell. Photo by Greg Neri. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
B-011-M Research Location(s): Lake Bonney, Lake Fryxell


Event Number:

Program Director:
Dr. Maria Vernet

ASC POC/Implementer:
Ryan Steiner / Jenny Cunningham

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Brandon R Briggs
University of Alaska Anchorage


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Lake Bonney, Lake Fryxell


Microbial interactions are recognized as providing critical functions in all ecosystems. Despite their importance in ecosystem function, microbes are still generally overlooked in food web models and biogeochemical cycles. This project will focus on microbial ecology, activity, and roles in ecosystem function in Antarctic Lake ecosystems. The team will characterize the genetic underpinnings of microbial interactions and the influence of physicochemical gradients (e.g., light, nutrients, oxygen, sulfur) and seasons (e.g., summer vs. winter) on microbial networks in Lake Fryxell and Lake Bonney in the Taylor Valley within the McMurdo Dry Valleys region.

Field Season Overview

This event will focus on microbial ecology and biodiversity in the water columns of Lakes Fryxell and Bonney. Seven participants will deploy and will stay at fixed camps at Lakes Fryxell and Bonney. They will access field sites on foot or all terrain vehicles. Field activities will include drilling lateral transects in lake ice, sampling the water column, and incubating lake water at the field camp laboratories. The team will also use lab space in Crary Laboratory for preparing for the field and some sample processing after the field season is completed.

Deploying Team Members

  • Brandon Briggs (PI)
  • Lucy Coleman
  • Kodi Haughn
  • Eckhardt Karsten
  • Bradley Krzysiak
  • Rachael Morgan-Kiss (Co-PI)
  • Rochelle Pereira