McMurdo Dry Valleys SiteBytes 2006

LTER Site: McMurdo Dry Valleys

Contributor: Chris Gardner (Oct 31, 2006)

Site Byte:

This year has been one of major IM-related advances at MCM. I went live with our new website at www.mcmlter.org in January 2006. Working with Inigo at the LNO, we were able to take MCM from 0% EML compliance to 100% EML level 5 in the matter of a few short months.

The new web presence represents a total redesign with new database-driven features. Some new features include an updated searchable bibliography and personnel list, a database of freely downloadable high quality Antarctic photos, and several tools to query our Oracle database for different dynamically derived datasets. A main goal of mine is to take full advantage of the relational database structure through the use of derived datasets that are useful to MCM researchers and the greater science community. An example of these derived dataset query tools include the ability to query stream chemistry and have Oracle dynamically convert mass units to moles, calculate TDS and charge balance, and then round the time the chemistry sample was taken to the nearest quarter hour and join those chemical data to stream discharge measurements. Other dynamic pages calculate the number of days of flow of these ephemeral streams at MCM and the total volume during the summer flow season. Other accomplishments include a site management section in the restricted access portion of the website where ancillary research projects can be documented, news stories can be added to the database, chain of custody forms can be downloaded, etc.

Current projects include documenting our spatial data layers in ESRI’s ArcSDE and linking those data dynamically to our tabular database in Oracle. Additionally, this field season I will be implementing improved sample tracking protocols where the chain of custody forms will be entered into the database, which will eventually be used as table joins and to verify the existence of data. Using a new standardized chain of custody form that requires specific sample name formats will also greatly reduce the time spent manually verifying and combining chemical data. These and other new protocols will greatly increase the efficiency and accuracy of MCM’s system of dealing with data starting from the point of collection all the way to making the QA/QC’d data publicly available on the web through dynamic query tools.