In January 2007 M. McLoed of Landcare Research, along with J. Aislabie (Landcare Research), M. Balks (University of Waikato), and J. Bockheim (University of Wisconsin Madison), completed the third field season for McLoed’s PhD study undertaking soil mapping, and developing a vulnerability index for soils in the Wright Valley of Antarctica.

M. Balks, with assistance from L. Adlam (University of Waikato) and C. Seybold (USDA) installed temperature dataloggers in the two, 30m boreholes (one at Marble Point and one in the Wright Valley) that were drilled in the summer 2005-06 in collaboration with M. Guglielmin from Italy. The thrust of the Landcare Research Antarctic soil programme over the next two years is to focus on data write up and maintaining and downloading the soil climate stations.

Three New Zealanders (M. Balks, G. Claridge and W. Dickinson) attended the ANTPAS meeting held in conjunction with the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences at Santa Barbara in California in August 2007.

Two young researchers from New Zealand have submitted logistic applications to the Antarctica New Zealand programme to undertake PhD studies relating to Antarctic soils and permafrost. They are F. Shanhun from Lincoln University to study of pedogenic carbonate to determine past soil climate, and T. O’Neill (University of Waikato) to study the effectiveness of the current EIA system at predicting cumulative effects and rates of recovery of human impacts on Antarctic soils. We wish them both well with their applications.

L. Adlam (University of Waikato) is commencing a MSc study, in which she will undertake the first comprehensive analysis of the soil climate data from the NZ/ USDA soil climate stations that have been operating, collecting 69 data parameters, from each of the seven meteorological stations, on an hourly basis for up to eight years. Adlam will also be working in collaboration with C. Seybold (USDA) in her study, will travel to Antarctica this summer to help download the data, and to undertake maintenance on the borehole dataloggers.

Megan Balks (m.balks@waikato.ac.nz)