This year, Ross and Diana were determined to find life in their eponymous valleys. We talked a bit about these areas last year. Ross and Diana sampled the soils in these two valleys but unfortunately didn’t find anything living in the soil! Talk about a bummer!

This season we had information from a Kiwi colleague that there were nematodes in those areas, so Diana and Ross decided to try again. They flew on a Bell 212 with Byron and Ed out to Virginia and Wall Valleys. They took a TON of samples.

Diana and Ross get excited about visiting “their” soils.
Diana and Ross

From left: Ross, Ed, Diana, Jena (Helo-tech) and Barry (Pilot) after sampling.
Ross, Ed, Diana, Gina, Berry

Diana Wall in Wall Valley

Wall Valley
Wall Valley

Endoliths are organisms that live inside rocks in harsh conditions. Both Wall and Virginia Valleys contain endolithic communities. People who study Mars are really into endoliths, which is why people who study Mars also study in the Dry Valleys.

Wall Valley is adjacent to The Labyrinth, a geological formation that looks like a maze!

They also flew over the Onyx River, the longest river in Antarctica.
Onyx River

After returning home they were able to extract rotifers and tardigrades, but didn’t find a single nematode. This is getting very irritating! Can you imagine being famous for studying nematodes and not finding any nematodes in the valley that is NAMED after you?