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Waikato Antarctic projects 2011/12 season

Did you know that no fewer than 7 Antarctic projects have a direct Waikato link this season alone, with 4 being led by researchers at the University!? I didn't either until I started asking around. For the number of scientists Waikato has working on Antarctic research we have a huge impact on the field within New Zealand and the World. Most of these projects can be found on the research page on ICTAR.

The First two projects to leave have already done so and been posted about on this blog but the season has just begun.  Below is a bit of information about each project and who is involved although as each goes down and comes back there will be specific posts about them.

Prince Charles Mountains: Josh Scarrow 14 October - March 2011

Joining the Australian Antarctic division for a Waikato research inspired landscape scale survey of the biology and geology found in the Prince Charles mountains of Antarctica. See press release for more information
Tramway Ridge, Erebus: Dr. Craig Herbold, Assos. Prof. Ian McDonald, Prof. Craig Cary with Antarctica New Zealand staff and a National Geographic team 2-20 November.
I have already done multiple posts on this team (Craig Herbold is already back) previously and more information can be found on the IGNITERRA website.
Miers Valley Teams
Early Jan-Early Feb
Holly Goddard (student of Dr. Megan Balks)
Going to Antarctica in Jan 2012 as part of the K123 project headed by Dr Jackie Aislabie of Landcare Research.  She will be assisting with automatic climate station maintenance of previously installed stations across a latitudinal gradient from 72-83 degrees South. They will also be installing a new automatic station near Bull Pass in the Wright Valley. Her research links to the K123 project by utilising data collected over the last 10 years by the automatic climate stations, and conducting time series analyses on various climatic data ranging from wind to soil climate.  I will be looking for temporal and spatial trends.
Dr. Lee project:
The main goal of the '11/'12 field season will be to collect Dry Valley soils for our Dry Valley permafrost simulators, which are currently under construction. We will need several hundred kilograms of soils to be able to simulate soil surfaces in the Dry Valleys, which are composed of very dry surface soils and permafrost that extends downward from 30 cm of depth. The Dry Valley permafrost plays an important role in soil microbial ecology, since moisture is constantly wicked toward the surface from the permafrost ice and becoming available to soil microorganisms in the process. Once we have the Dry Valley simulators in place, we will be able to perform a series of manipulation experiments that should answer the most important questions for the project: Are there causal relationships between abiotic soil parameters and the microbial life?
NZTABS projectinformation can be found at their dedicated site (I am trying to get it updated but the overarching aims are the same) 
Melissa Jager (Dr Mike Clearwaters student) will be heading to the Miers valley working on the CO2 respiratory of moss beds to monitor activity
Bratina Island Ponds: Stephen Archer, Assos. Prof. Ian McDonald, 9-23 January, Dr Brian Glazer (University of Hawaii)
This is my project going to Bratina Island to take water column samples to further understand microbial dynamics within and between these unique and highly variable systems and  manipulation experiments to model human and global climate impact on these systems so they can be applied to more complicated systems.
Antarctic Heritage Huts: Prof. Roberta Farrell, 16-30 January
Will be working at Discovery Hut, Nimrod Hut, laser scanning Memorial Cross on Observation Hill, where the signatures are being abraded off by wind and ice, and then we go to Cape Crozier.  At Cape Crozier, we are working at Wilson's Igloo, the site where they camped in 1912 during 'the worst journey in the world'.  Also, by approval from USAP, we are investigating fungal moulds at the USAP Hut overlooking the Emperor Penguin Colony.  Lastly, both at Cape Royds and at Cape Crozier, we are using the high definition laser scanning to study lichens and their 'growth'.  We'll have lots of very pretty pictures from the scanning etc.


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