A long-term soil manipulation experiment has been conducted as part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project. The response of soil organisms (nematodes, rotifers and tardigrades) to the treatments is monitored by sampling soil on an annual basis.
Climate warming in polar regions is associated with thawing of permafrost, resulting in significant changes in soil hydrology, biogeochemical cycling, and in the activity and composition of soil communities. While ongoing, directional climate warming can elicit such responses over decadal time scales, their manifestation typically occurs as discrete thawing pulses. Indeed, in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica abrupt changes in community structure and biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems following a summer warming event (Jan.