Aliens in Antarctica
Biodiversity and ecosystem processes are threatened worldwide by human introductions of non-indigenous (alien) species.
Photo: K. Hughes
The impact of alien species is varied, they may establish a transient population, persist only close to stations, or become invasive.
Invasive species can be directly responsible for the substantial loss of local biodiversity and/or changes to ecosystem structure and function. Rapid climate change in some parts of the Antarctic is predicted to exacerbate these impacts.
Each year around 40,000 people travel to the Antarctic with National Programs and tourist operations. These visitors can unintentionally carry propagules of alien species such as
- eggs of insects
- live insects
- soil with bacteria
Propagules can travel on a variety of personal equipment including; clothes, shoes, day-packs, camera tripods, as well as on fresh food and other cargo.
Our studies have shown that propagules can remain viable for at least two years and this further increases the risk of introduction.
- IPY project number 170 - Aliens in Antarctica
- This project is sponsored by Philips Nederland, B.V., Eidonhoven, the Netherlands.