The impact of fuel spills on the biological, chemical and physical properties of Antarctic soils was investigated. Soil surface samples and soil profile samples (pits dug down to the ice cemented surface) were collected from both oil-impacted and pristine sites in the vicinity of Scott Base, at the abandoned station at Marble Point and from Bull Pass in the Wright Valley. The aim was to determine ... the effects on the diversity of microflora and microfauna, on the thermal and moisture regimes of soils and on the composition of soil water. The samples were analysed for total counts of bacteria, viable counts of bacteria and fungi, numbers of hydrocarbon degraders, microbial respiration rates, microbial biomass and microbial nitrogen and soil parameters known to influence microbial activity (i.e. water content, pH, total carbon and conc. of the nutrients N and P). Soluable salts in the soils were extracted and analysed to determine whether there are any differences between oil-impacted and control sites. Measurements of soil CO2 flux were made with a gas analyser/soil chamber system in the Wright Valley to trial its application to Antarctic soils. Vitel soil moisture and salinity probes were tested and calibrated also in a range of environments in the Wright Valley and at Scott Base.