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.
Populations of Plectus murrayi, a mesophilic nematode, have been increasing in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica over the past three decades. In contrast, most other Antarctic nematode species, including Scottnema lindsayae, have experienced constant population declines over the same time period due to climate change related increases in summer temperatures and wetting occurrences. To determine why P.