Start date:
Late October
End date:
Early February
F6, Garwood and Wright Valleys, Lakes Bonney, Fryxell, Hoare, and Miers
Principle Investigator:
Dr Diane McKnight
University of Colorado Boulder
Field season overview:
Monitoring Activities During the 2011-2012 field season, researchers will continue to operate a network of 18 stream-flow gauges, collect water quality samples from 30 streams, and make necessary hydrologic measurements. Most monitoring will take place in Taylor Valley, with monitoring continuing in Wright Valley and being initiated or renewed at one or two sites in Miers and Garwood Valleys. Researchers will continue to upgrade temperature and specific-conductance probes at several gauges in order to minimize the loss of data collected during the season. Activities to relocate upstream gauging sites that are at risk of being submerged due to lake level rise, associated with the recent high flows of the 2008-2009 and 2010-2011 seasons, will be conducted for several gauges including Priscu Stream, Von Guerard Stream, Huey Creek, and Aiken Creek. Team members will also establish new gauging sites and algal monitoring transects in the Miers and Garwood Valleys. As part of a continuing collaboration with the USGS, researchers will operate the Onyx River Gauges in the Wright Valley so that the data are automatically transmitted each day to a USGS Water Science Center office, allowing for real-time flow monitoring that will be used for field-season planning. Researchers will also measure lake levels at Lakes Vida, Vanda, and Don Juan Pond. Also, as part of their long-term monitoring of the algal transects, researchers will visit 16 stream sites in mid-January to collect algal mat samples and water quality and to conduct LIDAR surveys. Experimentation Activities The B-506-M research team will continue to collaborate with the Wall group on sampling the reactivated relict channel experiment. In January 1995, a short sandbag control structure was built that diverted water to an abandoned stream channel in the Lake Fryxell basin that had not received substantial flow in approximately two decades. Biological and chemical observations have been made to see how the stream system responded to the renewal of flow. This season, researchers will continue baseline measurements in the reactivated channel to determine the amount of streamflow and will focus on three of the sites to observe changes in endemic diatoms following the high flows of the 2010-2011 season. These measurements may involve the installation of monitoring wells and temperature and specific-conductance probes, and the collection of streamwater, hyporheic water, algal mat, and soil organism samples. The operational support needed for this season will be similar to last year with the addition of activities to relocate sites and establish new sites in Miers and Garwood Valleys. The primary activities will be long-term stream monitoring and biological surveying conducted in the Dry Valleys. The work from November to February will involve collaboration with other events in the McMurdo-LTER project, especially the soils and biogeochemistry teams, and with several support contractor units, including Environmental, Berg Field Center, MACOPS, and helicopter support.
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. This project will continue the long-term monitoring of McMurdo Dry Valley streams by collecting water quality samples and operating a network of 18 stream-flow gauges.