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.
Elemental stoichiometry is a useful theoretical framework for understanding the sources and controls on nutrient availability that can structure the composition, diversity, and life history of biotic communities. One such relationship, as postulated by the growth rate hypothesis (GRH), is that organismal development rate is positively linked to cellular phosphorus (P).