Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Long term trends in phytoplankton productivity in McMurdo Dry Valley lakes

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Presenter/Primary Author: 
Amy Chiuchiolo
John C. Priscu
Pamela Santibáñez-Ávila

The McMurdo Dry Valley (MCM) study site is located in an ice-free region of Antarctica at 77° S, 162-163 E.  The lakes in this region are highly responsive to changes in climate. More than 20 years of phytoplankton productivity data (1993-2014) reveal that these lakes produce up to 9000 kg of new carbon per year. Long-term trends of chlorophyll-a, phytoplankton productivity, water temperature and ice thickness were compared. The rate of carbon production is strongly influenced by available light, which is controlled to a large extent by the thickness of the permanent ice cover.