Soil Moistures for Soil Biota Distribution Experiment


Investigation of the variation in soil biota and soil properties across the McMurdo Dry Valleys was part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project.  The moisture content of soil samples collected for organism extraction and identification was determined.
 The study began in the austral summer of 1993/1994. Samples were taken on:
  * December 31, 1993
  * January 3, 8, 10 and 13, 1994,
  * December 12 and 22, 1994,
  * January 6 and 9, 1995,
  * November 1, 8, 16 and 27, 1995,
  * December 5 and 7, 1995, and
  * January 12, 1998. 

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  At each site 5-25 soil samples were taken for organism enumeration and moisture content analysis as follows:  Sampling bags were prepared with one sterile 'Whirlpak' bag and clean plastic scoop per sample.  The location of the sampling was recorded each year so that areas were not re-sampled.  Using the plastic scoop, soil was collected to a 10 cm depth.  Very large rocks (>20 mm diameter) were excluded from the sample.  The soil was shoveled into the 'Whirlpak' bag until three quarters full (about 1.5 kg soil).  The soil was mixed well in the bag, then the bag was closed tightly, expelling as much air as possible.  The soil samples were stored in a cooler for
transportation.  On return to the laboratory (within 8 hours of sampling), the soils were stored at +5 degrees C until further processing.  
In the laboratory, soil samples were handled in a laminar flow hood to prevent contamination.  The Whirlpak bags of soil were mixed thoroughly prior to opening. Approximately 200cm3 of soil was placed in a pre-weighed 800mL plastic beaker. Rocks greater than 3-4mm in diameter were removed from the sample.  A sub-sample of approximately 50g was removed and placed in a pre-weighed aluminum dish, and weighed on a balance accurate to 0.01g.  This sample was dried at 105 degrees C for 24 hours.  The sample was removed, placed in a desiccator to cool down, and re-weighed.  These data were used to calculate water content of the soil and to express data as numbers of soil organisms per unit dry weight of soil.  


in 2016, this dataset was packaged and completed to meet best practices for preservation (San Gil: Added geo-metadata, personnel.  Prepared in ISO, EML) 
This file was created by Mark St. John at Colorado State University in Oct-1998, using raw data from the Excel workbooks '9312gsso.raw', '9412gsso.raw', '9511gsso.raw', and '9801gsso.raw'. The file format was suggested by the LTER data manager, to conform with the relational database structure. On 30-Oct-1998, the file was submitted to Denise Steigerwald, the MCM LTER data manager, located at INSTAAR, University of Colorado.
            Upon arrival at INSTAAR, the data manager combined the 4 data files, removed columns for latitude and longitude, and updated the location names to match those provided in the "soil measurement locations" file (from which latitude and longitude can be found). The resulting file was reformatted to present in ascii, comma delimited text and MS-DOS text (table layout) on the MCM LTER web site. Both of these files are linked to this web page above.
            On 28-Oct-1998, Andy Parsons discovered an error in the documentation of the storage temperature used for the soil samples collected. He informed the data manager of this error, resulting in an update from -8C to +5C in the methods portion of the page above.
            On 10-Nov-1998 Denise Steigerwald discovered a typo in the date shown for Cape Royds records represented in the 9312gsso file. Information colleced on 31-Dec-1993 showed a date of 31-Dec-1994. Denise revised these records in the Access database as well as the comma delimited text and MS-DOS text files on the web. 


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