Our first priority this season is the sampling and treatment of the Pulse and Press Project (P3). This experiment has been running for three years already, and this will be the first sampling opportunity after treatments have been applied. To briefly summarize, this work investigates the effect of increased subsurface water flow on soil biota and other soil parameters. Last year we collected a third year of baseline data and were interested in the logistics of how best to apply the water in a controlled way. This involved pumping water uphill from a nearby pond and into a holding tank, where it was sterilized and applied back down slope to the plots. https://nemablog.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/p3-a-success/


The P3 experiment site at Many Glaciers Pond, Taylor Valley, Antarctica. Photo: Matt Knox 2014.

This time around, one year later, we get to see how the biological community responded to the treatments. We are planning to sample tomorrow and have been very busy getting the lab ready and preparing for a busy day taking samples in the field. If sampling goes well, we’ll be back in the lab analyzing soil communities and looking for changes in species composition (who is where), population shifts (growing or shrinking) and population structure (gender and life stage ratios). These results will tell us if the treatments we are applying are changing the ecology of the study area and give insight into how the whole Dry Valley ecosystem might respond to climate change.

Written by: Matt Knox