SoGES Antarctic Lecture Series: An End to the Trend

Date: 
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 -
7:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: 

Fort Collins Main Public Library, 201 Pederson St.

The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs) of Antarctica represent a cold desert ecosystem defined by extensive soils (i.e., not ice-covered), glacier melt water streams, and closed-basin, ice-covered lakes.  Despite cold temperatures and very little precipitation, a vibrant ecosystem exists across these landscape units.  Previous work in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica documented significant responses of local aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems to a decadal scale cooling trend prior to 2000. However, an exceptionally high melt year occurred in 2002, influencing stream flow, lake dynamics and terrestrial ecosystems.  I will describe interannual variation in Dry Valley ecosystems, focusing on the contrasts in drivers of ecological responses pre- and post 2002, i.e., the flood year.  Since 2002, the MDV ecosystem has ceased responding to only a local decadal cooling trend and is responding to several high-flow years with new trajectories in some cases and increased variability in others.

Despite cold temperatures and very little precipitation the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs) of Antarctica support vibrant ecosystems. Until 2000 MDV ecosystems were thought to be changing in response to a decade long cooling trend. However, an exceptionally high melt year occurred in 2002, influencing stream flow and lake dynamics.  This lecture will describe interannual variation in MDV ecosystems, focusing on contrasting drivers of ecological responses pre- and post 2002, i.e., the melt year.  Since 2002, MDV ecosystems have ceased responding to the cooling trend and are now reacting to altered environmental conditions with new trajectories and increased variability.

Sponsor: 
SoGES
Contact Email: 
Matt.Knox@colostate.edu
http://sustainability.colostate.edu/soges-events