Lake Bonney (McMurdo Dry Valleys, east Antarctica) represents a year-round refugia for life adapted to extreme conditions. Lake level has risen by more than 3 m since 2004, but impacts of rapid lake level rise on phytoplankton community structure is also poorly understood.
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.