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Image of Research 1st Place Winner
Of Ice and Men
Hilary Dugan, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Antarctic lakes are studied as sentinels of future change, for climate records contained in their
sediments, and as habitats for the simple food webs that can exist in inhospitable environments.
Understanding how lakes are formed and are sustained in response to landscape conditions
is critical in addressing the aforementioned research themes. The hypothesis of my doctoral
research is that lake ice can be used to reveal past climatic changes, and further our awareness
of current changes in climate and water loss in Antarctica. I use geophysical techniques and
long-term field measurements to quantify water balance and interpret the history of thick
perennially ice covered lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica.
This photo of Lake Miers and Adams Glacier in Miers Valley, Antarctica, encapsulates how lake
ice (foreground) is the end of the water cycle, which once began as a glacier (background). In
the image, your eye is drawn to the far-away glacier. When I look at the grandeur and beauty
of a glacier, I find it difficult to forget the toll climate change has taken on these bodies of ice
worldwide. Ice holds many secrets of the past, and will play an important role in our future.