The primary objective of this event was to examine possible environmental factors (moisture, nutrients, mineralogy) driving the microbial diversity in the dry valley soils of Antarctica. 325 mineral soil samples (15-50 mls) were collected from different sites in and around the upper Miers Valley. Sights included a well-defined altitudinal gradient set (150 samples) on the northern flank of the ... valley from valley floor to summit (482m elevation), 15 seal carcasses from the valley and the associated Northern access to the Marshall Valley (113 samples), different mineral outcrops or unusual site in the valley (37 samples), and hypolithic communities beneath translucent rocks (25 samples). The gradient was set to exploit the greatest moisture gradient in the valley. The seal carcasses represented an obvious introduction of carbon and nitrogen to an otherwise nutrient depleted ecosystem. The hypolithic community, mineral outcrops and otherwise unusual sites were for a general valley image of microbial biodiversity. Successful extraction and genetic analysis of microbial DNA from 90 valley floor mineral soils was accomplished to determine the validity of sample quality prior to returning to New Zealand. Further analysis was conducted in laboratories including phylogenetic diversity analysis, microbial biomass and isolation of DNA for metagenomic studies.