The discovery of extensive and complex hypolithic communities in both cold
and hot deserts has raised many questions regarding their ecology, biodiversity and
relevance in terms of regional productivity. However, most hypolithic research has focused
on the bacterial elements of the community. This study represents the first investigation of
micro-eukaryotic communities in all three hypolith types. Here we show that Antarctic
hypoliths support extensive populations of novel uncharacterized bryophyta, fungi and
protists and suggest that well known producer-decomposer-predator interactions may
create the necessary conditions for hypolithic productivity in Antarctic deserts.