Preliminary qualitative microbiological studies were conducted at several sites in the Ross Sea Region including Cape Bird, Taylor Valley, Wright Valley and Shapeless Mountain and Mistake Peak on the Polar plateau. Soil samples (for microbiological studies) were taken for chemical and physical analysis and total microbial counts. Nitrogen fixation rates were determined in soils and mosses with the ... total 15N content and the conversion of 15NH4 to 15N gas measured. Samples were taken from penguin guano pools for chemical analysis. At Cape Bird the soils and pools in the penguin colonies and the soils of associated vegetation was sampled. Only the microbial biomass, 15N fixation and collection of fossils was carried out in the Beacons in the Upper Taylor Valley (with Permian plant fossils collected), Shapeless Mountain and Mistake Peak on the Polar Plateau (with Triassic plant fossils collected) and at Lake Brownworth and Vanda in the Wright Valley (no fossils collected at these sites).