Rutgers University
  • Introducing the Polar Oceans Blog

    Posted on December 23rd, 2018 Marie Zahn No comments

    Palmer Station and ASRV Laurence M. Gould docked at the pier. Photo by Marie Zahn, summer 2018.

    Welcome to the RUCOOL Polar Oceans blog! Here we will share updates from our research conducted along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) from Palmer Station and while aboard the R/V Laurence M. Gould. Our research contributes to the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program ( that monitors decadal ecological changes of the pelagic marine ecosystem along the WAP. The Palmer LTER program was established by the National Science Foundation in 1990 and combines efforts from several universities to examine the whole food web from bacteria to seabirds and cetaceans.

    Our research objectives are to understand seasonal and interannual patterns and changes in the phytoplankton as well as the physical properties (temperature, salinity, and light) that affect them, especially as this region warms and shifts from a true Antarctic ecosystem to a more sub-Antarctic one. More specifically, we focus on how the physics and nutrient availability drive overall carbon fixation in the upper ocean and how that relates to higher trophic levels. Our routine analyses include discrete chlorophyll a measurements, 14C uptake to determine primary productivity, chemotaxonomic pigments via high performance liquid chromatography, fluorescence induction and relaxation kinetics, and whole water carbon fixation rates. We compliment these measurements with water column bio-optical profiles.

    This austral summer marks our eleventh season at Palmer Station. Already it has been a productive one (pun-intended). Stay tuned for more updates and posts as we go deeper into some of our protocols and recent findings from our research here in Antarctica!


    Last 5 posts by Marie Zahn

    Comments are closed.