This symposium was convened by Bob Wharton of the Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nev. Eight papers were presented that depicted ongoing research in these unique environments. Although 98% of Antarctica is ice covered, there are ice-free areas, the “dry-valleys”along the Soya Coast, in the Vestford Hills, and in Southern Victoria Land within 125 km of McMurdo Station. The lakes within the dry valley areas of Southern Victoria Land have been investigated by American, New Zealand, and Japanese scientists since the International Geophysical Year in 1957. The research presented in this symposium dealt primarily with sedimentological, geochemical, and ecological aspects of Lake Vanda in Wright Valley and Lakes Hoare, Chad, and Fryxell in Taylor Valley.