Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: The Diversity, Seasonality and Function of Parasitic Fungi in Arctic Sea Ice (Award# 1303901)

PI: Collins, Eric (
Institute/Department: U of Alaska, Fairbanks,  
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ARCSS
Program Manager: Dr. William Wiseman (
Discipline(s): | Cryosphere |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This work explores the hypothesis that parasitic chytrids (fungi) may change the seasonal cycle of ice algal abundances and diversity by targeting specific ice algal taxa, mainly certain diatom species. In addressing this hypothesis, this grant aims at providing information on the spatial and temporal patterns of abundance, and diversity of marine fungi in arctic sea ice in comparison to water column information and relate this information to various environmental data which will include salinity, temperature, and as well as ice thickness and snow cover. This study is the first to explore these ecological processes in polar sea ice and can potentially lead to a paradigm change on carbon processing similar to one seen recently in freshwater science. Detailed studies on marine chytrids are rare in any ice covered marine region and these observations might stimulate new research in both Arctic and Antarctic regions. Biological community composition information will contribute to diversity research on fungi in general and the understanding of global patterns in microbial biodiversity linked. The research will have broader impacts in its engagement in teaching activities through training of two participating UAF students and through high school seminars as well as meeting with teachers in Barrow, and their potential participation in expeditions. A broad public audience including minorities will be kept informed through media coverage and project-specific web pages documenting the field and lab work.

Logistics Summary:
Researchers on this project aim to provide information on the spatial and temporal patterns of abundance and diversity of marine fungi in Arctic sea ice. They will compare knowledge on marine fungi to water column data, and relate this information to various environmental parameters, including salinity, temperature, ice thickness and snow cover. In 2014, a team of 2 to 3 researchers will visit Barrow five times for about 5 days each trip to collect data, with a trip in January and three in March/April/May to work on the sea ice, and a final trip in the summer for work based from a boat. During the Jan-May trips, the research team will use snowmachines to travel on the sea ice to sample fast ice, and they will be accompanied by a bear guard. For the summer trip, 2 researchers will return to Barrow in mid-June to sample open water and sea floor sediments via boat. Similar fieldwork will occur in 2015, with an additional trip in the spring. In 2015, the Principal Investigator on this project changed from Rolf Gradinger to Eric Collins.

CPS will provide lodging, vehicle rentals, lab/office/storage space, temporary staffing (including bear guards and field guides), a boat, communications, safety, and miscellaneous gear from NSF inventory, and assistance with North Slope Borough and UIC permitting. All other logistics will be organized by the researchers and paid through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2014Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)01 / 12 / 2014 06 / 18 / 20144
2014Arctic Ocean and Seas - Bering Sea0
2015Alaska - Utqiaġvik (Barrow)03 / 01 / 2015 08 / 15 / 20154
2015Arctic Ocean and Seas - Bering Sea0

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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1303901", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1