Lake Joyce is in the Dry Valleys. The Dry Valleys are located in southern Victoria Land near the McMurdo Sound and are the largest ice-free region of continental Antarctica. They often also called a polar desert because the humidity is extremely low ; and in many of the areas there is no or only little snow fall. The ground is mainly barren rocks and gravel without a soil layer as known from temperate environment.
The environmental conditions of Dry Valley habitats are so extreme, that most of the life is microbial and even lichens and mosses can only be found in very few areas such as near glaciers, where meltwater stream form during the austral summer months.