Soil samples from a diverse range of soil types have been collected from the Wright and Victoria Valley Systems, to determine whether soil distribution patterns aid prediction of microbial abundance and diversity. The research develops an environmental classification for terrestrial ecosystems of Ross Sea region. The classification includes associated data and models and is underpinned by new ... knowledge on soil distribution, climate and microbial diversity and/or abundance. Soil samples of varying development from friable rock surfaces to sediment, all containing macroscopically visible biological growths: lichens, algae including cyanobacteria, and putative moss. These samples will be used for taxonomic investigation, requiring direct examination, culturing, ultra structural study and molecular genetic analysis. Results will be used to document the diversity of Victoria Land and for information on the provenance of propagules found in soils in which life is not visible to the unaided eye.