The biota and environment of fumarolic ground recently discovered near Mount Rittmann are described. Three patches (about 1 m2 each) of the moss Pohlia nutans were found in a minor caldera rim. Cyanophytes, chlorophytes, protozoa and bacteria were isolated from the moss and warm ground (30-50 degrees C). The results are compared with those of previous studies on Antarctic volcanoes. The origin of the geothermal flora is discussed in terms of long-distance transport of propagules to the continent.
Two samples of vegetated soil were collected randomly and taken in sterile bags. The water content and pH of samples was determined immediately in Terra Nova Bay station. Back to Italy, concentrations of inorganic nutrient were measured in soil extracts and in moss soil subsamples digested with concentrated HNO3 in a Teflon bomb at 120 degrees. Element were determined by inductively coupled plasma-atomic spectrometry (ICP-AES), atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS). Total organic C and N were determined in bulked soil subsamples (powdered and sieved at 0.125 mm) according to the procedure outline by Gaudette et al. (1974) and the Kjeldhal method, respectively.