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U.S . An tar ctic P ro gr am , 2 0 04 – 20 0 5 I. Ae ron o m y an d Astro p hy sics II . Bio log y an d Me di cin e II I. Lo n g -Te rm E col og ica l Rese arch IV. O cea n an d C lim a te Sy stem s V. G eo lo gy a nd Ge op h ysics VI. Gl acio lo gy VII . Arti sts an d W rite rs Pr og ra m

LONG-TERM ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH
An Adelie penguin ro ok ery o n H um ble I sland in the Anta rctic P eninsula r egion. The buildings of P al mer Statio n can be se en in the back gr ound. Pal mer Sta tion sits on Anver s Isla nd at 64° 46' S, 64° 03' W. (NSF/ USA P pho to by J effr ey Kie tzmann, Ra ytheo n P ola r Serv ice Cor p.)

PD F Ver sion

OP P h om e p ag e Ant arcti c S cien ce s S ectio n Po la r Re se ar ch S up p or t S ecti on U.S . An n ua l An tar ctic T re aty Ex cha n ge o f In fo rm a tio n

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z Ov erv iew z Pal mer Lo ng -Te rm Eco logical Re sea rch P roject: Cli mate change, ecolo gical

migr atio n, and te leco nnectio ns in an ice - do minate d envir onme nt.
z The ro le of na tur al legacy o n e cosyste m structur e and functio n in a po lar deser t:

The McMurdo Dry Va lley Lo ng-Te rm Eco logical Re sea rch Pr oject. Overview Eco logy has take n its pla ce am ong science 's vi ta l, stra tegic discipline s, tha nks to an eve r -gre ate r a wa reness of ho w the we b o f life and the Ear th's other dynam ic pro cesses co nsti tute a clo sed a nd co he rent system. As pa rt o f this e vo lutio n, the Na tiona l Scie nce Founda tion's Long -Te rm Eco logical Re sea rch (L TER) P rogra m, begun in 1980, ha s gro wn into a ne twork o f 24 r esea rch site s, esta blished to a cquire lo ng -te rm data sets from Alaska to Puer to Rico to Antar ctica . Such a spre ad is necessa ry to colle ct inform atio n o n a v arie ty of e cosy ste m types, such a s gra ssl and, de sert, fo rest, tundra , la ke , strea m, rive r, a nd agricultura l and co astal syste ms. To e nha nce unde rstanding of ecolo gical phe no me na , the pr ogra m focuses on the r ole o f cy clical/ episodic e ve nts (ra nging fro m yea rs to deca de s to ce nturie s) in the structure a nd functio n o f these distinctiv e eco system s. To fa ci litate re sea rch on unique aspects of antarctic eco logy, the Anta rctic Bio logy a nd Medicine Pro gram suppo rts two o f these LTER pr oject sites: one nea r Pa lmer Sta tion in the Antarctic Pe ninsula and the o the r in the M cM ur do Dry Va lley s. The Pa lme r S ta tion/ Anta rctic P eninsul a LTER progra m is idea lly sited to pr obe a funda menta l issue: As the pa ck ice va ries ( se aso na lly a nd yea r by y ea r), what ha ppe ns to the a nta rctic mari ne co mmunity? That is, ho w do e co lo gica l pro cesses influence organisms a t diffe rent tr ophic le vels? The P al mer Sta ti on L TER Pro gram wa s initiate d during the 1991 -1992 sea son with the insta lla ti on o f a n a uto ma ti c me teo rolo gical sta tion, a nnua l re sea rch cruises in the a ustra l summ er, and a focused rese arch pro gr am at the sta tion facility . Dur ing the a ustr al fa ll and spring sea sons, proce ss-study re sea rch cr uise s dev elo p data that can be co mpare d with da ta co llected fro m othe r co asta l sy stems in the Antarctic Pe ni nsula. Due to its unique si te , the McMurdo Dry Va lley s LTER pro je ct is mo re wide ra nging a nd

fo cuse s o n the inte rdisciplina ry study o f a quatic and te rre str ial eco system s in a cold de se rt regio n of Antar ctica . The are a is o ne of the mo st fa scina ting and contra ria n spots on Ea rth. In fact, it is alm ost unea rthly. Na tional Ae rona utics and Space A dministra tion scie ntists who wondere d wha t co nditions might be like o n Ma rs came he re, a n isla nd of rock in a sea of ice , the lar ge st ice -fre e ar ea in A nta rctica, w he re winds howl , where w ha t littl e wate r ther e is dessica tes or ev apor ates, and whe re the only cre atures that can surv ive a re micro or ga ni sm s, mo sses, liche ns, a nd re lativ ely few groups o f inve rtebrate s. Higher form s o f life are virtually no ne xiste nt. Thus, LTER projects ba sed he re tak e adva ntage of pe rhaps the co lde st a nd dri est ecosy stem on Ea rth, wher e life a ppro aches its e nv ironme ntal limits; as such, this ma y be se en as an " end -membe r" in the spectrum of enviro nments included in the LTER ne twork . W hy is it ne cessa ry to conduct long- te rm eco logical re sea rch in such a place ? All e cosyste ms de pe nd on liquid w ater a nd are sha pe d to v ary ing de gr ee s by climate a nd mate rial tra nspor t; but no where is this m ore a ppa rent tha n in the M cM ur do Dry V alle ys. In ve ry few of Ea rth's e nv iro nm ents do mino r changes in so lar ra dia tio n and te mpera tur e so dra ma tica lly a ffect the ca pabilities of o rga nisms to gro w and re pr oduce a s in the McMurdo Dr y Valle ys. The re fo re, this site ma y well be an im po rta nt natural, re gio nal sca le labo rato ry for study ing the bio logical effects o f clima te cha nge s a ttributa ble to huma n a ctiv ity. While the antarctic ice shee ts re spo nd to clima te cha nge o n the or de r o f tho usa nds of y ear s, the gla ciers, str ea ms, a nd ice -co ve red lak es in the McMurdo Dry Valle ys often e xper ience ne ar ly imme dia te (a nd some time s profo und) cha nge . As such, this are a wo uld be o ne of the first to show the effe cts o f clima te cha nge in Anta rctica. The ov era ll obje ctive s o f the McMurdo Dry Vall eys LTER a re to unde rstand the influe nce of physical a nd bio logical co nstra ints o n the structure a nd function of Dry V alle y ecosy stems and to unde rstand the mo difying e ffe cts o f ma te ria l tra nspo rt o n these ecosy stems. Though drive n by the sa me basic proce sse s found in all e co syste ms (micro bi al use a nd rem ine ra lizatio n o f nutrie nts, fo r e xam ple ), the Dry Va lley e cosy stems lack ma ny o f the confounding v aria ble s, such as dive rse and fecund biota a nd many leve ls o f plants a nd highe r a nimals, inhe rent in othe r e cosy ste m re sea rch. ^ to p

Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research Project: Climate change, ecological migration, and teleconnections in an ice-dominated environment.
Hugh W . Duc klow , College of W illiam and Mary. The Pa lme r L ong- Te rm Eco logical Re sea rch Pr oject (P AL L TER) see ks to unde rstand the str ucture a nd functio n o f the anta rctic ma rine and te rrestria l ecosy stem in the conte xt of physica l for cing by se asona l to inter annua l v ari ability in a tmospheric and se a- ice dy na mics, a s we ll a s lo ng- te rm clima te cha nge . PA L L TER studies ma rine and te rrestria l fo od w ebs co nsisting principa lly o f dia tom prima ry producers; the domi na nt herbivo re the antarctic krill, Eupha usia supe rba; the apex pre da tor Ad élie pe nguin, Pygo sce lis a de liae ; and an activ e micro bia l fo od w eb, consisting of plankto nic bacte ria and Archa ea , ba cte riv oro us proto zoa , a nd dissolv ed o rganic m atte r. A bio geo che mical com po nent studies orga nic a nd ino rganic ca rbon fluxe s a nd the se dimentatio n o f particula te ma tter into the dee p sea . This pro je ct mo nitors we ste rn Anta rctic P eninsula e cosy ste ms re gio nally o ve r a gri d of ocea nographic sta tions a nd lo ca lly a t P alme r Statio n. The e xtent and v aria bi lity of se a ice affe ct changes a t a ll tr ophic lev els. In re cent y ea rs, sea ice ha s diminished in re spo nse to ge ne ral clima te war ming. A lo ng- te rm populatio n decline o f ice -de pe nde nt Adé lie pe nguins prov ide s a cle ar e xa mpl e of the impa ct o f thi s tre nd in the Pa lmer re gion. Adé lie po pula tions at the five m ajor ro ok erie s lo cate d nea r P alm er Statio n a nd studied fo r the past 30 ye ars hav e all sho wn a gra dua l decr ease in num be rs. The we stern A nta rctic Peninsula, the site o f PAL LTER rese arch, runs perpe ndicular to a stro ng climatic gradient be twee n the cold, dry co ntinenta l re gime to the south a nd the w arm, mo ist ma ritime regime to the north. M ore m aritim e conditions a ppe ar to be repla cing the o rigina l po lar ecosy stem in the northe rn part of the P eninsula as the clima tic gradie nt shi fts so uthw ard. To date , this shift a ppea rs to be ma tche d by an e cosy stem shift alo ng the P eninsula, a s evide nce d by de cline s in Adé lie pe nguins, which re quire a lo nge r snow -co ve r se aso n, and cha nges in pla nk ton distribution, a s re fle cted in pr edato r die ts. We hypothesize that eco system m igr atio n is m ost clea rly ma nife sted by change s in

upper -leve l pre da tor s ( pe nguins) a nd cer tain po lar fishe s in pre dato r- fo raging enviro nments be ca use the se lo nge r liv ed spe cie s i nte gra te re ce nt clima te tre nds a nd be ca use individua l spe ci es a re mo re se nsitiv e indica tors tha n a ggre ga ted functio na l gro ups. W e hypothesize that in the y ear s a he ad, a nalo go us mo difica tions w ill a lso be co me e vident at lowe r trophic le ve ls, a ltho ugh the se cha nge s a re like ly to be seen only thro ugh long- te rm studie s o f e co syste m bo undarie s a long the peninsula . By studying e xta nt foo d webs in both the ma rine and te rre str ial e nv ironme nts, we will co ntinue to inve stiga te eco system changes at lo wer tro phic lev els; change s in respo nse to co ntinue d, dra ma tic wa rming; and shifts in the pole ward climatic gradient alo ng the wester n Antarctic Pe ninsula. During the 2004 –2005 field se aso n, the fo llowi ng studies will be co nducte d a s par t o f the PAL LTER pro je ct:
z Seabird (pen guins, gian t petrels , and s kuas) ecology. ( B –013 –L/P ; NSF /OPP

02–17282) Willia m R . Fra ser, Po lar Ocea ns Re sea rch Gro up.
z Primary prod uct ion and ph ytoplankt on ecology. ( B–016–L/P ; NSF /OPP 02–

17282) Mari a Verne t, Scripps Institutio n o f Ocea no graphy, U niver si ty of C alifornia –San Die go .
z Phys ic al oceano grap hy an d o cean –climate modeling . ( B–021–L; NSF /OPP

02–17282) Do ugla s G. M artinson, C olumbia U niv ersity
z Zooplankto n an d n ekton s tocks , feeding , and growt h. ( B–028–L/P ; NSF /OPP

02–17282) Langdo n B. Que ti n and R obin M. Ro ss–Que ti n, Unive rsity of Califo rnia –Santa Barbar a.
z Remot e s ensing and bio– optics . ( B–032 –L/P ; NSF /OPP 02–17282)

Ray mond C . Smith, U niver sity of C alifornia –Santa Ba rbara .

z Mic rob ial ec olog y and biogeoc hemis try. ( B–045–L/P ; N SF/OP P 02–17282)

Hugh W. Ducklo w, C olle ge o f W illiam a nd Mar y. ^ to p

The role of natural legacy on ecosystem structure and function in a polar desert: The McMurdo Dry Valley Long -Term Ecological Research Project.
W. Berry Lyon s, O hio S tate Univers it y. The lar ge st ice - fre e ar ea in A nta rctica is found in the M cMurdo Dry Va lley s, loca ted o n the we stern sho re o f McMurdo So und. Amo ng the mo st e xtre me deser ts in the wo rld, the McMurdo Dr y Valle ys are the coldest and drie st o f all the Lo ng- Te rm Eco logical Re sea rch (LTER ) si te s. Co nse que ntly , biolo gical system s a re limite d to micr obial popul atio ns, microinv erte bra tes, mosse s, and lichens. Yet co mpl ex tro phic inte ractio ns a nd bio ge ochem ical nutrie nt cycle s dev elo p in the la kes, strea ms, a nd soils of the Dry Valle ys. In the a ustra l summ er, sola r e nergy produces gla cial mel tw ater , prov iding v ital water a nd nutrie nts that ha ve a prim ary influence on the e co syste ms. Such ma teri al tr anspo rt and clima tic influences sha pe a ll e cosy ste ms, but now he re is this mo re appa rent tha n in the McM ur do Dry Va lley s. The McMurdo LTER pro je ct focuses on the a qua tic a nd terr estria l e co syste ms in the Dry Valle y landsca pe as a contex t to study ing biolo gical pr ocesse s a nd to ex plo ring ma teria l tr anspo rt and migra tion. During the seco nd phase o f this L TER pr oject, we a re e xtending our rese arch by co ntinuing to investiga te the M cM ur do Dry Va lley s a s a n end-membe r sy stem, ho ping to be tter asce rtain the r ole o f past clim atic legacie s o n e co syste m str ucture a nd functio n. We will test a seri es o f e ight hy po theses in thre e majo r focusare as –hy dro lo gy , biolo gi ca l activity /dive rsity, and biogeo chemica l pro cesses — by co ntinuing o ur mo nitoring pro je cts a nd lo ng- te rm ex pe rime nts. Unde rstanding the structure and functio n o f the McMurdo Dry Va lley s e cosyste m requires de ci pher ing the hydro logical re spo nse to clima te, bo th now a nd in the pa st. Curre nt pa tterns o f biolo gical a ctiv ity and div ersity re fle ct past and pre sent distributio ns o f wa ter,

nutrie nts, o rganic ca rbon, a nd biota . Bio ge ochem ica l proce sses responsible fo r the tr anspo rt, im mobiliza tion, a nd mine raliza tion of nutrients and o the r che micals prov ide the linka ges betwe en the re gion's bio ta and the phy sica l enviro nment. The timing, dura ti on, a nd loca tion o f bioge ochemica l pro cesses in the past and prese nt a re contro lled by the av aila bility of w ater . We co ntinue to focus o n the integra tio n o f the biolo gica l pro cesses within a nd a mong the la ke s, strea ms, a nd terre strial e co syste ms that com pr ise the M cM ur do Dry V alle y landsca pe . Our inte rdisciplinar y rese arch te am will continue to use mo deling a nd other integra tive studie s to synthesize data a nd to ex am ine the McMurdo Dr y Valle ys e co syste m. During the 2004 –2005 field se aso n, the fo llowi ng studies will be co nducte d in the McMurdo Dr y Valle ys as pa rt of the LTER proje ct:
z

Chemistry of s treams, lakes, and glac iers . ( B–420–M; N SF/OP P 98–10219) W. Be rry Ly ons, Ohio Sta te U niv ersity .

z Flow, sediment trans port, an d p ro duct ivity of s treams; wat er qu ality o f

Lake Fryxell: Wat er los s from t he streams to th e atmos phere by s ampling water– cont ent ch anges . ( B –421 –M; N SF/OP P 98–10219) Dia ne M. M cK night, Univ ersity o f Co lor ado –Boulder.
z Lake pelag ic and ben thic produ ctivit y: Microbial food web s. ( B–422–M;

NSF/ OPP 98–10219) John C . P riscu, Monta na Sta te Unive rsity –Boze man.
z The influen ce o f en vironment al con dit ion s on carbon and nitrogen c yc ling

an d on soil biota, t he ef fect s of en vironment al ch ange and food su pply availab ilit y on s oil b iot a, and th e effec ts of climat e c hange on biota. ( B – 423–M a nd B –424–M; NSF /OP P 98–10219) Ross A. Virginia, Da rtmo uth Co llege, and Diana H . W all, C olo rado Sta te Unive rsity.
z Glacier mas s balan ce, melt, an d en ergy balance: Climat e monitoring in

Taylor, Wright , Vic toria, and Beac on Valleys . ( B–425–M; NSF /OP P 98–10219) Andre w F ountain, P ortla nd State U niv ersity .
z Paleo climatology, p aleoec olog y, and meteorologic al dat a co llection. ( B–

426–M; NSF /OP P 98 –10219) Pete r T. Do ra n, U niv ersity o f Illino is –Chica go. ^ to p

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Las t U pdat ed: Jan 27 , 2005 Text Only