Diana, Ross and other members of the soil team visited two Antarctic valleys that have recently been named in their honor (Wall Valley and Virginia Valley, respectively)! These antarctic veterans have been working down here for 16 year and the valleys were named in recognition of their commitment to Antarctic research. Five soil samples were collected from each valley to see what’s happening biologically in each valley. Sadly (especially for Diana) we didn’t find any nematodes, but we’re hoping to continue the search next year.

Diana and Ross stepping into Wall Valley!
Wall Valley

Ross and Diana collect the inaugural soil sample in Virginia Valley!
Virginia Valley

During the same trip the soil team stopped off on top of Mt Falconer to collect samples from a soil transplant experiment. Soil from the valley floor and the top of Mt Falconer were swapped to study the effect of elevation on the animal community. Afterwards we headed to the valley floor to collect samples from the transplanted soil down there and bumped into two members of the Stream Team (Emily and Lee) and the Lake Hoare Camp managers (Rae and Sandra).

Diana and Byron on top of Mt Falconer
Mount Falconer

Standing: Ed, Ross, Jeb, Sandra, Mike, Diana, Rae and Byron. Kneeling: Abigail, Lee and Emily.
F6 Crew

Diana, Ross, Byron and Mike continued on to Battleship Promontory, a large geologic feature in the Dry Valleys that (sort of) resembles a battleship. Battleship is one of the few places in the Dry Valleys were we find Geomonhystera sp., the rarest nematode species in this region. Some awesome helicopter flying by pilot Pandol meant they finally got to land at Battleship after three years of unsuccessful attempts.

Collecting soils on Battleship Promontory
Battleship Promontory