Scientists propose plan to protect Antarctica from invasive species

June 14, 2012

Hair grass and lichen cover rocks near Palmer Station, Antarctica.

Mt Herschel. with Seabee Hook penguin colony in the foreground. Photo by Andrew Mandemaker.

As tourism to Antarctica rockets up this summer, so does the risk of transporting species across the enormous continent to new areas. While 98% of the continent is covered by snow and ice, the remaining land (some 280,000 sq. km) is home to numerous unique species of flora and fauna. Invasives are one of the largest threats to terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems, especially in the warming climate.

From ScienceDaily:

“An international team of scientists have published the first continent-wide assessment of the Antarctic’s biogeography, and propose that the landmass should be divided into 15 distinct conservation regions to protect the continent from invasive alien species. The team’s findings are published in Diversity and Distributions, while the authors’ proposals were outlined recently at a lecture to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Hobart, Tasmania.”

Read the full article at ScienceDaily.

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