Project Information
LTER: Ecosystem Response to Amplified Landscape Connectivity in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica
Short Title:
Start Date:
End Date:
Project Location(s)
McMurdo Dry Valleys
The McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are a mosaic of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in a cold desert. The McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project has been observing these ecosystems since 1993 and this award will support key long-term measurements, manipulation experiments, synthesis, and modeling to test current theories on ecosystem structure and function. Data collection is focused on meteorology and physical and biological dimensions of soils, streams, lakes, glaciers, and permafrost. The long-term measurements show that biological communities have adapted to the seasonally cold, dark, and arid conditions that prevail for all but a short period in the austral summer. Physical (climate and geological) drivers impart a dynamic connectivity among portions of the Dry Valley landscape over seasonal to millennial time scales. For instance, lakes and soils have been connected through cycles of lake-level rise and fall over the past 20,000 years while streams connect glaciers to lakes over seasonal time scales. Overlaid upon this physical system are biotic communities that are structured by the environment and by the movement of individual organisms within and between the glaciers, streams, lakes, and soils. The new work to be conducted at the McMurdo LTER site will explore how the layers of connectivity in the McMurdo Dry Valleys influence ecosystem structure and function. This project will test the hypothesis that increased ecological connectivity following enhanced melt conditions within the McMurdo Dry Valleys ecosystem will amplify exchange of biota, energy, and matter, homogenizing ecosystem structure and functioning. This hypothesis will be tested with new and continuing experiments that examine: 1) how climate variation alters connectivity among landscape units, and 2) how biota are connected across a heterogeneous landscape using state-of-the-science tools and methods including automated sensor networks, analysis of seasonal satellite imagery, biogeochemical analyses, and next-generation sequencing. McMurdo LTER education programs and outreach activities will be continued, and expanded with new programs associated with the 200th anniversary of the first recorded sightings of Antarctica. These activities will advance societal understanding of how polar ecosystems respond to change. McMurdo LTER will continue its mission of training and mentoring students, postdocs, and early career scientists as the next generation of leaders in polar ecosystem science, and lead the development of international environmental stewardship protocols for human activities in the region.
Person Role
Gooseff, Michael N. Investigator and contact
Takacs-Vesbach, Cristina Co-Investigator
Howkins, Adrian Co-Investigator
McKnight, Diane Co-Investigator
Doran, Peter Co-Investigator
Adams, Byron Co-Investigator
Barrett, John Co-Investigator
Morgan-Kiss, Rachael Co-Investigator
Priscu, John Co-Investigator
Antarctic Integrated System Science Award # 1637708
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
Repository Title (link) Format(s) Status
LTER McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER Data Repository None exist
EDI EDI Data Portal: McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER None exists
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  3. Bergstrom, A., Gooseff, M. N., Myers, M., Doran, P. T., & Cross, J. M. (2020). The seasonal evolution of albedo across glaciers and the surrounding landscape of Taylor Valley, Antarctica. The Cryosphere, 14(3), 769–788. (doi:10.5194/tc-14-769-2020)
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  5. Obryk, M. K., Doran, P. T., & Priscu, J. C. (2019). Prediction of Ice‐Free Conditions for a Perennially Ice‐Covered Antarctic Lake. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 124(2), 686–694. (doi:10.1029/2018jf004756)
  6. Cook, G., Teufel, A., Kalra, I., Li, W., Wang, X., Priscu, J., & Morgan-Kiss, R. (2019). The Antarctic psychrophiles Chlamydomonas spp. UWO241 and ICE-MDV exhibit differential restructuring of photosystem I in response to iron. Photosynthesis Research, 141(2), 209–228. (doi:10.1007/s11120-019-00621-0)
  7. Raymond, J. A., Morgan-Kiss, R., & Stahl-Rommel, S. (2020). Glycerol Is an Osmoprotectant in Two Antarctic Chlamydomonas Species From an Ice-Covered Saline Lake and Is Synthesized by an Unusual Bidomain Enzyme. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11. (doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.01259)
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  14. Dillon, M. L., Hawes, I., Jungblut, A. D., Mackey, T. J., Eisen, J. A., Doran, P. T., & Sumner, D. Y. (2020). Energetic and Environmental Constraints on the Community Structure of Benthic Microbial Mats in Lake Fryxell, Antarctica. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 96(2). (doi:10.1093/femsec/fiz207)
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  18. Sokol, E. R., Barrett, J. E., Kohler, T. J., McKnight, D. M., Salvatore, M. R., & Stanish, L. F. (2020). Evaluating Alternative Metacommunity Hypotheses for Diatoms in the McMurdo Dry Valleys Using Simulations and Remote Sensing Data. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8. (doi:10.3389/fevo.2020.521668)
  19. Bergstrom, A., Gooseff, M. N., Singley, J. G., Cohen, M. J., & Welch, K. A. (2020). Nutrient Uptake in the Supraglacial Stream Network of an Antarctic Glacier. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 125(9). (doi:10.1029/2020jg005679)
  20. Santibáñez, P. A., Michaud, A. B., Vick‐Majors, T. J., D’Andrilli, J., Chiuchiolo, A., Hand, K. P., & Priscu, J. C. (2019). Differential Incorporation of Bacteria, Organic Matter, and Inorganic Ions Into Lake Ice During Ice Formation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 124(3), 585–600. (doi:10.1029/2018jg004825)
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  25. Chignell, S. M., Myers, M. E., Howkins, A., & Fountain, A. G. (2021). Research sites get closer to field camps over time: Informing environmental management through a geospatial analysis of science in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. PLOS ONE, 16(11), e0257950. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0257950)
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  32. Hudson, A. R., Peters, D. P. C., Blair, J. M., Childers, D. L., Doran, P. T., Geil, K., Gooseff, M., Gross, K. L., Haddad, N. M., Pastore, M. A., Rudgers, J. A., Sala, O., Seabloom, E. W., & Shaver, G. (2022). Cross-Site Comparisons of Dryland Ecosystem Response to Climate Change in the US Long-Term Ecological Research Network. BioScience, 72(9), 889–907. (doi:10.1093/biosci/biab134)
  33. Bergstrom, A., Welch, K. A., & Gooseff, M. N. (2023). Spatial Patterns of Major Ions and Their Relationship to Sediment Concentration in Near Surface Glacier Ice, Taylor Valley Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 128(3). Portico. (doi:10.1029/2022jf006980)
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Platforms and Instruments

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