Investigation of the effect of elevation and topography on soil biota and soil properties was part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project. The number of soil organisms (nematodes, rotifers and tardigrades), divided by species, sex and maturity was monitored at 3 elevations, initially in Taylor Valley (1993) then Garwood and Miers Valleys (2012) in order to accomplish this.
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.
In 1994, 16 stream transects were established in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica 63 beginning a long term data set characterizing microbial communities and channel geometry. The 64 transects were established to record microbial mat dynamics and stream geomorphology. To accomplish this, the transects were surveyed for points of interest outside and inside the stream channel. Beginning in 2010 the microbial surveys received ground based LiDAR support. This allowed for greater resolution in mapping and analyzing stream morphology than traditional surveying methods.