Cryptogams drive ecosystem processes of ice-free regions of the coastal Antarctic and sub-Antarctic. These organisms have morphological traits related to UV and light protection that allow them to survive some of the most extreme conditions on Earth. In the Antarctic Biota Count project, we seek to quantify the traits that allow cryptogams to survive such harsh conditions. We will also identify their contribution to element fluxes and processes in the maritime Antarctic. Trait-based functional groups will be created to understand the role of Antarctic cryptogams in nutrient and carbon cycling as well as their role as habitats for invertebrate and microbial biodiversity. This will be done using a combination of field work and lab experiments.