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This year, the McMurdo LTER is being reviewed by the National Science Foundation. This happens to every LTER during its funding cycle. Unlike other grants, Long Term Ecological Research grants are for six years (hence long term), so at three years a team is sent to review the science and give recommendations based on their findings. It’s a good thing, but a bit stressful for us.
In all, the site review team consisted of five researchers in various fields and three NSF program officers.
Our LTER currently consists of 7 Principle Investigators (PIs), from left, Dr. Berry Lyons (Ohio State University), Dr. Diana Wall (Colorado State University), Dr. Andrew Fountain (Portland State University), Dr. Peter Doran (University of Illinois – Chicago), Dr. Diane McKnight (University of Colorado – Boulder) and Dr. Ross Virginia (Dartmouth College). Not pictured: Dr. John Priscu(Montana State University).
The site review team was given a whirlwind tour of our research in the valleys, which is an integrated program connecting the landscape units in the dry valleys, from glaciers to streams to lakes to soils. We work really hard to make sure that all our research is connected, not just to each other, but to the scientific community at large.
After interviewing everyone and visiting all the sites, the review team, “gave us an A!” and some great feedback. We hope they all enjoyed themselves, and maybe learned a little something, too.