Start date:
Crary Lab, Cotton Glacier
Principle Investigator:
Dr Christine Foreman
Montana State University Bozeman
Field season overview:
In 2011, the research team will take one day trip, with ground time, from McMurdo Station to the Cotton Glacier to collect stream water and enrich for microbes.
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important component of the global carbon cycle and provides a carbon source for microbial activity. Much of this carbon pool is composed of predominantly recalcitrant organic matter derived from microorganisms (most global DOM is of marine origin) that has been extensively worked over by microbial activity and/or humification. A recent sample of a supraglacial stream formed on the Cotton Glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains indicated the presence of DOM that more closely resembles an assemblage of characterizable precursor organic compounds. Based on the changing spectrum of the samples, researchers hypothesize that the DOM from this water evolved to resemble materials present in marine and many inland surface waters. The interdisciplinary team will study the biogeochemistry of the Cotton Glacier and this progenitor DOM. They will isolate the DOM by reverse-osmosis for purposes of studying its chemical composition. Water samples will also be aged and the DOM isolated over time to determine how the material changes structurally.