Freshwater ponds have long been recognised as an important local biodiversity element in the Antarctic landscape. To broaden the understanding of pond systems within the Ross Sea region of Antarctica survey work was carried out below Luther Peak, near Cape Hallett. The investigation would test the hypothesis that the gradient in climatic severity associated with latitudinal and altitudinal ... gradients drives a corresponding gradient of biological diversity and productivity. This was the first ecological investigation of these ponds. Two ponds, away from the influence of the penguin colony, were located. Both were ice covered. Water and microbial mat samples were taken from both ponds for analysis of species composition and chemical characteristics. Both lakes showed signs of salt stratification consistent with the freeze concentration mechanisms believed to occur in most/all Antarctic ponds.