In January 2001, we surveyed streams and ponds above 300 m asl in Taylor Valley, South Victoria Land, Antarctica. One pond was examined in detail. Organic materials covered nearly 100% of the adjacent soil to 5-20 m from the shore, with intermittent patches to 80 m. Organic matter averaged 257 gC/m2, and totaled 1388 kg organic C on the soil around the pond. Soil moisture content (0.56 to 12.41%) decreased with distance from shore, whereas pH (7.8 to 10.8) increased with distance. Electrical conductivity was lowest in the soils less than 10 m from the pond (416 +- 94 uS/cm).
An important part of the McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) is monitoring of spatial and temporal patterns, and processes that control net primary production (carbon dynamics) in perennial ice-covered lakes. One of the primary losses of carbon fixed by phytoplankton is through respiration, directly by the phytoplankton themselves and secondarily through the metabolic contributions of heterotrophic organisms such as bacterioplankton and protozoa. The coupling of low metabolic activity and supersaturated gases in the water column prohibits a direct measurement of respiration.