A long-term soil manipulation experiment has been conducted as part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project. The response of soil organisms (nematodes, rotifers and tardigrades) to the treatments is monitored by sampling soil on an annual basis.
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.