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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
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EXPLORATION OF ANTARCTIC SUBGLACIAL AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS

Environmental and Scientific Stewardship

Committee on Principles of Environmental Stewardship for the Exploration and Study of Subglacial Environments

Polar Research Board

Division of Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. ANT-0531226 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10635-1

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10635-4

Additional copies of this report are available from the

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Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine


The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.


The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.


The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.


The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.


www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
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COMMITTEE ON PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP FOR THE EXPLORATION AND STUDY OF SUBGLACIAL ENVIRONMENTS

JOHN E. HOBBIE (Chair),

Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

AMY BAKER,

Technical Administrative Services, Littleton, Colorado

GARRY CLARKE,

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

PETER T. DORAN,

University of Illinois at Chicago, Earth and Environmental Sciences

DAVID KARL,

University of Hawaii at Manoa, School of Ocean and Earth Science, Honolulu

BARBARA METHÉ,

The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland

HEINZ MILLER,

Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany

SAMUEL B. MUKASA,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

MARGARET RACE,

SETI Institute, Lafayette, California

WARWICK VINCENT,

Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

DAVID WALTON,

British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom

JAMES WHITE,

University of Colorado, Boulder

National Research Council Staff

MARIA UHLE, Study Director

PAUL CUTLER, Study Director until June 2006

RACHAEL SHIFLETT, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
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POLAR RESEARCH BOARD

ROBIN BELL (Chair),

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York

JAMES E. BERNER,

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, Alaska

DAVID BROMWICH,

The Ohio State University, Bryd Polar Research Center, Columbus

CALVIN ROBERT CLAUER,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

JODY W. DEMING,

University of Washington, School of Oceanography, Seattle

ANDREW G. FOUNTAIN,

Portland State University, Oregon

SVEN D. HAAKANSON,

Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak, Alaska

LAWRENCE HAMILTON,

University of New Hampshire, Durham

LARRY HINZMAN,

International Arctic Research Center, Alaska

STEPHANIE PFIRMAN,

Barnard College, New York, New York

DIANA HARRISON WALL,

Colorado State University, Ft. Collins

JAMES WHITE,

University of Colorado, Department of Geological Sciences, Boulder

ExOfficio:

JACKIE GREBMEIER,

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

MAHLON C. KENNICUTT II (U.S. Delegate to SCAR),

Texas A&M University, College Station

TERRY WILSON (Alternate U.S. Delegate to SCAR),

Ohio State University, Columbus

NRC Staff

CHRIS ELFRING, Director

MARIA UHLE, Program Officer

RACHAEL SHIFLETT, Senior Program Assistant

ANDREAS SOHRE, Financial Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
×

Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

  • Charlie Bentley, University of Wisconsin

  • Don Blankenship, University of Texas, Austin

  • Joyce Jatko, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)

  • Andrew Fountain, Portland State University

  • John Priscu, Montana State University

  • John Rummel, NASA Headquarters

  • Sergey Bulat, Russian Academy of Sciences

  • Martin Siegert, University of Edinburgh

  • Lonnie Thompson, The Ohio State University

  • Martyn Tranter, University of Bristol

Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Mary Albert, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Appointed by the National Research Council, she was responsible for making

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
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certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
×
   

 Evolution of Life in Subglacial Aquatic Environments,

 

70

   

 Current Evidence for Life in Subglacial Aquatic Environments,

 

73

   

 Biology—Conclusions,

 

78

4

 

DRILLING AND SAMPLING TECHNOLOGIES AND THE POTENTIAL FOR CONTAMINATION

 

81

   

 Technologies to Access Subglacial Aquatic Environments,

 

81

   

 Needs for Technology Developments,

 

86

   

 Potential for Chemical Contamination,

 

88

   

 Potential Sources of Biological Contamination,

 

93

   

 Other Potential Sources of Contamination—Particulates in the Fluid,

 

94

   

 Potential for Testing and Assessing Contamination: Experiences from Deep Biosphere Sampling,

 

96

   

 Potential for Testing and Assessing Contamination: Experiences from Interplanetary Research,

 

98

   

 What Levels of Cleanliness are Feasible When Accessing Subglacial Environments?,

 

100

   

 Biological Contaminant Detection,

 

100

   

 Conclusions,

 

101

5

 

ANTARCTIC GOVERNANCE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EXPLORATION OF SUBGLACIAL AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS

 

104

   

 Antarctic Treaty,

 

104

   

 Planetary Protection and the Outer Space Treaty,

 

105

   

 Management Goals for Good Stewardship,

 

110

   

 Conclusions,

 

112

6

 

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 

114

   

 Toward Exploration of Subglacial Environments,

 

114

   

 Next Steps in Subglacial Exploration,

 

116

   

 Toward Establishing Levels of Cleanliness,

 

119

   

 Exploration Protocols,

 

122

   

 Research Needs,

 

124

   

 Guidelines for Stewardship, Management, and Project Review,

 

125

 

 

REFERENCES

 

129

 

 

APPENDIXES

 

 

   

 A  Statement of Task

 

143

   

 B  Biographical Sketches of Committee Members

 

145

   

 C  List of Acronyms

 

150

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2007. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11886.
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Antarctica is renowned for its extreme cold; yet surprisingly, radar measurements have revealed a vast network of lakes, rivers, and streams several kilometers beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Sealed from Earth's atmosphere for millions of years, they may provide vital information about microbial evolution, the past climate of the Antarctic, and the formation of ice sheets, among other things. The next stage of exploration requires direct sampling of these aquatic systems. However, if sampling is not done cautiously, the environmental integrity and scientific value of these environments could be compromised. At the request of the National Science Foundation, this National Research Council assesses what is needed to responsibly explore subglacial lakes. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments concludes that it is time for research on subglacial lakes to begin, and this research should be guided by internationally agreed upon protocols. The book suggests an initial protocol, which includes full characterization of the lakes by remote sensing, and minimum standards for biological and other types of contamination.

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