The hypothesis that stratification in the ponds of the McMurdo Ice Shelf is induced during the freezing process, as salts are excluded from the ice matrix during freezing was investigated over several seasons. The aim of this work is to improve our ability to model the ice formation and melt process, which we hypothesise to be a key driver of pond systems, thereby allowing us to understand how ... climatic variability in both space and time will impact on pond physical dynamics. In the 2001/02 season ponds were sampled when they were completely frozen (during early spring, by collecting ice cores) and again when fully melted in summer. In spring, ice cores were drilled and sectioned into 10cm slices. These were then melted and collected into clean bottles for return to New Zealand for ion analysis. A monitoring array to obtain weather data to support development of a model of the physical process of freezing in Antarctic ponds was developed from existing logging systems. The stations were set to record over the winter period pond temperature, incident and net radiation, wind speed and direction, air temperature and air humidity. In the 2003/04 season three ice cores were sampled (from Skua pond) while the pond was still frozen. The cores were analysed for major ions, biological analyses (organic carbon, particulates, and pigments) and gas analysis. A thermistor chain was installed in the middle of a long term monitoring pond (Skua) in the 2004/05 season. The thermistor chain recorded temperatures down a depth profile of the pond throughout a whole season. It was moved in the following season to another pond (Upper).