Start date:
Late November
End date:
Late January
F6, Taylor Valley, Lakes Fryxell and Bonney
Principle Investigator:
Dr John Barrett
Virginia Tech
Field season overview:
A three-member research team will deploy this austral summer to perform integrated experiments that address the overarching hypothesis regarding increased connectivity among landscape units, enhanced coupling of nutrient cycles across landscapes, and increased biodiversity and productivity. The team members will be based out of established camps in the Taylor Valley with day trips by foot or helo to other camps, areas, or sampling sites. Two team members will be based at the F6, Lake Fryxell, and Bonney camps, while another team member will be at Lake Bonney. One team will install a water-diversion experiment in the Lake Fryxell basin and potentially the Lake Bonney Basin. The water diversion experiment will consist of pumping water from natural sources at each sites to shallow trenches uphill of instrumented plots.
Theme or program:
Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program
The McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) projects will continue to investigate the McMurdo Dry Valleys as an end-member ecosystem and focus on the relative roles of legacy and extant processes on current biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function. The McMurdo-LTER project will expand to include the more southerly Miers and Garwood Valleys. Because wind-borne transport of biota is a key aspect of enhanced connectivity from katabatic winds, new monitoring will include high-resolution measurements of aeolian particle flux. Importantly, integrative genomics will be employed to understand the responses of specific organisms to the increased connectivity. The project will also include a novel social science component that will use environmental history to examine interactions between human activity, scientific research, and environmental change in the McMurdo Dry Valleys over the past 100 years. In much the same way as the simplicity of the Dry Valleys' ecosystems makes the area an ideal location for exploring ecological theory, the simplicity of the area’s human history – in terms of its short timeframe and the small number of people involved – makes it an excellent location for integrating the theory and practice of environmental history with the ecological research of the LTER network.