As part of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, a systematic sampling program has been undertaken to monitor the glacial meltwater streams in that region. This dataset contains microbial biomass concentrations found in algal mats located in streams throughout the McMurdo Dry Valleys as well as in ponds of the nearby Cape Royds. Microbial mat biomass has been collected as part of the McMurdo LTER since the 1993-1994 field season and measured as ash-free dry mass (AFDM) and chlorophyll-a (Chl-a).
In 1994, 16 stream transects were established in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica 63 beginning a long term data set characterizing microbial communities and channel geometry. The 64 transects were established to record microbial mat dynamics and stream geomorphology. To accomplish this, the transects were surveyed for points of interest outside and inside the stream channel. Beginning in 2010 the microbial surveys received ground based LiDAR support. This allowed for greater resolution in mapping and analyzing stream morphology than traditional surveying methods.
We performed a field survey to assess changes in biomass, nutrient ratios, and isotopic signatures of three different microbial mat types in two glacial meltwater streams in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Samples were taken in January 2013 from pre-existing transects over Von Guerard Stream and the Relict Channel, and stretched from near the Von Guerard Glacier terminus to the stream outlets at Lake Fryxell.