SEOS and Biology professor Diana Varela participates in a joint project with Argentinean researchers in the Antarctic base Carlini

Varela Antarctic Camp

Diana Varela is taking part of a joint effort to study the effects of climate change on coastal planktonic communities in Antarctic marine waters.  The project was funded by an Argentinean research agency and sponsored by the Argentinean Antarctic Institute.  Varela together with colleages (Drs. Irene Schloss, Marcelo Hernando and 3 other PIs, and Ph.D. student Natalia Visintini) are investigating the effects of increasing temperatures and decreasing salinities on the physiology and ecology of marine phytoplankton and zooplankton, which are the base of marine food webs.  Seawater temperatures are increasing due to global warming, and salinities are decreasing due to enhanced runoff of freshwater from land and melting of ice.  Microcosm experiments exposed to varying temperature and salinity conditions were set up on shore, in which coastal assemblages are being followed for a variety of parameters that are indicative of the physiological status of the organisms.  Varela has participated in the field campaign at the Argentinean Base Carlini in King George Island (which is part of the South Shetland Archipelago, west of the north tip of the Antarctic peninsula) during December and January 2014.  The team plans to compare Antarctic responses in planktonic communities with those in coastal Arctic waters during the next two years.

Varela Antarctic Setup