First Antarctic Field Season: 2004-05

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Priscu Stream entering the east lobe of Lk. Bonney. Note the extended wetted zones along the stream edges.
Our first field season in Antarctica on this project began in December 2004. We established 11 sample plots for detailed investigations of near-stream and near-lake wetted zone hydrology, biogeochemistry, and microbial ecology. Despite extended delays in McMurdo, we were able to visit each of the 11 sample plots multiple times to be able to 1) collect samples for hydrological, biological, and biogeochemical analyses, 2) make in-situ measurements, 3) complete topographic surveys, and 4) deploy thermocouple strings and dataloggers to log soil temperatures throughout the rest of the summer, into the winter (at 3 sites).

Study plots were established at the following locations:
  • Lake Joyce, north shore
  • Lake Bonney, south shore
  • Lake Hoare, south shore
  • Lake Fryxell, north shore
  • Priscu Stream (E end of Lk. Bonney), above Bohner Stream tributary
  • Green Creek, west shore, below F9 stream gauge
  • Lower Delta Stream, just above F10 stream gauge
  • Upper Delta Stream
  • Lost Seal Stream (southern tributary, near Commonwealth Gl)
  • Upper Onyx River, ~400 m above LWRT stream gauge
  • Lower Onyx River, ~300 m above Bull Pond
Within each study plot, 4 transects from water edge to dry soil were established. Along these transects, 5 sampling sites were determined: at the water edge, 0.2 m from the water edge, half way across the wetted zone, 0.3 or 0.4 m inside the wetted zone margin, and 0.3 to 0.4 m outside the wetted zone margin (dry soil)

Temperature data collected from a thermocouple string located ~3 m from the edge of Lk Bonney.
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The stream-side study plots (7) allow us to study locations that have a dynamic hydrologic boundary condition as stream stage changes on a diel cycle. The lake-side study plots (4) provide a more stable hydrologic boundary condition. The upstream-downstream pairs provide the opportunity to potentially determine whether downstream microbial communities are a function of upstream communities, and/or whether upstream communities, which are wet more often, differ from downstream communities, which experience liquid water less frequently.

Thermocouple strings were deployed at Lake Bonney, Lake Joyce, and Lake Fryxell. Strings were inserted to a depth of 50 cm (or less) at each sampling position of one transect at each plot. Thermocouples are spaced 10 cm apart.


First Season Activities:


Meet the Field Team:

Jeb and Brad arrived in Antarctica at the start of Dec., the rest of us arrived Dec. 28.




Dr. Michael Gooseff, Assistant Professor,
Colorado School of Mines

Dr. Jeb Barrett, Adjunct Assistant Professor,
Dartmouth College

D. Brad Bate, recent graduate of Dartmouth College

Michael Bobb, MS student,
University of New Mexico


Ken Hill, undergraduate student, Utah State University

Melissa Northcott, MS student, Colorado School of Mines

Lydia Zeglin, Ph.D. student,
University of New Mexico

We gratefully acknowledge the professional and efficient support of Raytheon Polar Services Company and PHI Helicopters. Without their assistance, we would not have been able to accomplish so much in the field.


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This page was updated on 15-Sept-2007.
This page was created on 23-Jan-2005.
Questions? Email mgooseff@engr.psu.edu.