The study of high temperature extreme environments continues to challenge our understanding of the upper tolerances of microbial life and how life may have originated on earth and possibly other planets. The Tramway Ridge geothermal site on Mt. Erebus, an active volcano in Antarctica, is the most geographically isolated geothermal site on earth providing an excellent system for studies of ... microbial speciation, biogeography, and evolution of thermal adaptation. Recent advances in high throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatics allow us to acquire and decipher the genetic capabilities and structure of entire microbial communities without the necessity of cultivation. Employing a combination of these advanced genetic methods coupled with culture dependant approaches a gene-centric analysis of the Tramway Ridge microflora and other Antarctic geothermal sites was undertaken to address questions focused on endemism, biogeography, evolution, and adaptation. Soil samples and bacterial isolates were collected from high temperature soils (maximum temperature sites) at Tramway Ridge and western crater locations at Mt Erebus. These temperatures averaged 65°C and were dominated by steam emissions. Samples have been obtained both for DNA/RNA genetic analysis and for cultivation. Cultivation efforts were undertaken on site and have been continued successfully in the lab. Ice core samples were also collected from walls of several ice chimneys. Temperature probes were installed in the high temperature soils at Tramway Ridge. The temperature probes and data loggers were left in situ to obtain temperature data over a one year period at each site. Temperature, Depth, Water Activity and Oxygen saturation was measured in field. Salinity, pH, moisture content, nutrients and elemental analysis were determined post-field.