organic matter

The entire ecosystem relies on the recycling of organic matter (and the nutrients it contains), including dead plants, animals, and other organisms. Decomposition of organic matter and its movement through the ecosystem is an important component of the food web.

Lake Bonney Autonomous Lake Profiler and Samplers (ALPS): Particulate Organic Carbon and Nitrogen Concentrations


Knowledge of the McMurdo Dry Valley (MDV) lakes is limited by winter access, a period which is most relevant in understanding the habitability of other icy worlds and critical to understanding the overall function of these lakes.  Owing to the lack of winter access, data that normally require human presence are incomplete.  Our goal was to conduct the first year-round investigation of the biogeophysics of these unique lakes.  An important part of the McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) is evaluating carbon and nitrogen budgets in perennial ice-covered lakes. This data set addresses this core area of research and quantifies the particulate carbon and nitrogen found at specific depths in McMurdo Dry Valley lakes.

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Lake water samples were collected at 15m in both lobes of Lake Bonney with the McLane Remote Access Sampler (RAS) 48 times approximately every nine days from December 2013 to December 2014. Each sample was pumped into a 500 ml sample bag, to which we added 5 mL of saturated mercuric chloride (10g 100 ml-1 or 1 mg ml-1 final concentration) before deployment. After redeployment of the RAS, sample bags were stored in 1000 ml Nalgene bottles and shipped to the US for analysis. Water for analysis was filtered through a combusted Whatman 25 mm GF/F filter (475 degrees C for 4 hours). After the sample was filtered, the filter tower was rinsed with 20 mL of deionized water. The filter was placed onto an aluminum weighing pan and air dried. Once the filters were dry, a filter paper punch was used to take a sub-sample (10 mm diameter) from the Whatman 25 mm GF/F filter and was analyzed using a Carlo-Erba Elemental Analyzer. The elemental analyzer was standardized with acetanilide. Total particulate organic carbon (POC) and particulate organic nitrogen (PON was obtained by dividing the total area of the seston on the filter by the punch area.

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