Freshwater ponds have long been recognised as an important local biodiversity element in the Antarctic landscape. A suite of relatively easily measured chemical and biological variables that provide key information on the structure of Antarctic aquatic ecosystems have been measured at several sites in the Ross Sea region in conjunction with the Latitudinal Gradient Project and were measured more ... recently in areas around the Darwin glacier. Samples were collected from the following meltwater catchments: Lake Wilson, Diamond Hill, Lake Wellman area, Grant Valley (Lake Hendy),the Foggy Dog Glacier region and Tentacle Ridge. In addition, several moraine based ponds and several supraglacial ponds were sampled opportunistically. Water samples are to be analysed for pH, salinity, conductivity, Na, K, Ca, Mg, Cl, SO4, HCO3, DIC, DOC, Chlor-a, isotopes (O18, D2, Tr3), dissolved nutrients (NO3, DRP, NH3, TDN, and TDP), particulate nutrients (PNPP, PNPC), viruses and bacteria, and selected trace elements. Cyanobacterial mats and sediments will be analysed for species composition (incl. genetics), and invertebrates. The mineralogy of salts precipitated in pond sediments and in soils will also be determined.