The University of Colorado Boulder has multiple research projects going on in Antarctica every year. Here’s a look at what teams from the Cooperative Institute for Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research are up to this season.
The McMurdo Dry Valleys–the largest relatively ice-free zone on the Antarctic continent–has been studied as part of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research Network since 1993. The principal investigator on the project is Outreach Award recipient Diane McKnight, a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and a professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering. The McMurdo Dry Valleys offer researchers the opportunity to study an ecosystem that exists in extreme conditions compared to most others found in the world.
This season, INSTAAR graduate student Alex Mass is living in a tent in the Dry Valleys for three and a half months to take the samples she needs for her research. Mass, who studies the chemical degradation pathways of certain halocarbons and volatile compounds in ice and snow, is blogging about her experience in Antarctica for the third season.
Editors’ note: This article appears in its entirety on the University of Colorado Boulder website.