Ellis Fjord, located in the Vestfold Hills of East Antarctica (68.5°S, 78°E), exhibits a range of environments, from essentially marine at its sea-ward end, to permanently stratified basins with hypersaline brines at its inland end. The drainage basin of the fjord contains small areas of mosses and lichens, but no higher plants, and supplies fresh water to the fjord in ephemeral summer melt streams. Direct anthropogenic inputs are negligible or non-existent, as are those from other mammals and birds. The fjord exhibits unusual biological and chemical properties, and offers the opportunity to study oceanic processes in isolation and at small scales. It also has the logistical advantage of proximity to the facilities of Australia's year-round Davis research station.