Blood Falls, a subglacial discharge from the Taylor Glacier, Antarctica provides an example of the diverse physical and chemical habitats available for life in the polar desert of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Geochemical analysis shows that Blood Falls outflow resembles concentrated seawater remnant from the Pliocene intrusion of marine waters combined with products of weathering. The result is an iron-rich, salty seep at the terminus of Taylor Glacier, which is subject to episodic releases into permanently ice-covered Lake Bonney.
Increases in soil temperature and moisture may change the bioavailability of essential elements by altering solubility and diffusion rates in soils, or by changing the amounts of organic compounds. Long-term experiments in the Bonney, Hoare and Fryxell basins have been established with 3 treatments: 1) increased moisture, 2) soil warming (ITEX chambers), and 3) soil warming + increased moisture. The identification and abundance of soil biota are reported.