The future of Taylor Valley under projected warming is one of reduced lake ice cover, increased lake volume and reduced soil habitat in the lower valleys. A new model as part of a Maciek Obryk’s PhD thesis is near completion and predicts that under current climate trends (last 10 years), the lakes will start to seasonally ice-out within the next few decades (Fig. 1). This will dramatically increase summer light levels and wind driven mixing, and alter many chemical and biological processes.
Lakes are the only perennial liquid water environments in the MDV; they maintain biological activity year-round with food webs dominated by phytoplankton and bacteria (Priscu et al.1999; Vick et al. 2013; Kong et al. 2012). Perennial ice-cover limits turbulent mixing and most lakes are strongly stratified by temperature and salinity (Spigel and Priscu 1998). The major influences on the chemical composition of lakes are their landscape positions and climate history (Lyons et al. 2000; Dore and Priscu 2001).