Article

Food for thought: Risks of non-native species transfer to the Antarctic region with fresh produce

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Abstract

To understand fully the risk of biological invasions, it is necessary to quantify propagule pressure along all introduction pathways. In the Antarctic region, importation of fresh produce is a potentially high risk, but as yet unquantified pathway. To address this knowledge gap, >11,250 fruit and vegetables sent to nine research stations in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands, were examined for associated soil, invertebrates and microbial decomposition. Fifty-one food types were sourced from c. 130 locations dispersed across all six of the Earth’s inhabited continents. On average, 12% of food items had soil on their surface, 28% showed microbial infection resulting in rot and more than 56 invertebrates were recorded, mainly from leafy produce. Approximately 30% of identified fungi sampled from infected foods were not recorded previously from within the Antarctic region, although this may reflect limited knowledge of Antarctic fungal diversity. The number of non-native flying invertebrates caught within the Rothera Research Station food storage area was linked closely with the level of fresh food resupply by ship and aircraft. We conclude by presenting practical biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of non-native species introductions to Antarctica associated with fresh foods.

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... Antarctica was the last continent to be touched by the direct infl uence of humans, with the fi rst people landing in 1819 and overwintering in 1897/98 (Headland, 2009). Th e region's isolation and extreme climate have limited the level of human activity, in contrast to the other continents, where humans have been present for tens of thousands of years at least and large population migrations have occurred (Hughes et al., 2006(Hughes et al., , 2011aMellars, 2006;Headland, 2009). As a result of the brief and limited infl uence of humans on the region, relatively few non-native species have been introduced to Antarctica deliberately or accidentally, with the majority of those that have become established occurring on the sub-Antarctic islands (Frenot et al., 2005;Convey, 2008;Hughes and Convey, 2012;UK, 2012a). ...
... In contrast, the risk of plant propagule, invertebrate and non-sterile soil introductions by anthropogenic means has been better characterized. Human-mediated tran sport of propagules and/or soil has been recorded associated with cargo (Lee and Chown, 2009a,b;Osyczka, 2010;Tsujimoto et al., 2010), vehicles, including aircraft and ships (Hughes et al., 2010a,b), wood, sand and aggregate (Osyczka et al., 2012), fresh foods (Hughes et al., 2005(Hughes et al., , 2011a and with visitors' clothing and personal possessions Chown et al., 2012a), and risk assessments have been attempted for certain groups such as springtails (Greenslade and Convey, 2011) and fl owering plants (Chown et al., 2012a). Th e sub-Antarctic islands, which form a ring around Antarctica in the Southern Ocean north of latitude 60°S, have been visited by humans for over two centuries, and in that time over 200 non-native plants, vertebrates (including fi sh, rodents, cats, reindeer, sheep and moufl on) and invertebrates have been introduced, with some islands now having more non-native plant species than indigenous plant species (Frenot et al., 2005). ...
... Th e Environmental Protocol does not permit the importation of non-sterile soil within the Antarctic Treaty area, which could be a major source of nonnative fungi, bacteria and other microbial groups (ATCP, 1991). However, fresh foods are imported routinely to Antarctica by most national programmes, and root vegetables can often be associated with soil and plant material infected by food spoilage microorganisms (Hughes et al., 2011a). Should such species be released accidentally into the Antarctic terrestrial environment, they could cause disease in indigenous plants and/or alter existing microbial communities (Klopper and Smith, 1998;Hughes et al., 2011a). ...
Article
Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity is simple compared to other regions of the Earth, with many higher taxonomic groups not represented, due to the continent's isolation, the severe climatic conditions and the relative scarcity of suitable habitats. So far, Antarctic biodiversity has been little affected by nonnative species introductions, due to (i) the late arrival of humans on the continent (c.1820), (ii) the overall low intensity of human activity and (iii) the concentration of most of that activity around a limited number of research stations and tourist sites, such as exist onthe Antarctic Peninsula. However, human activity is increasing, and Antarctica is increasingly vulnerable to the human-mediated importation of non-native species and the redistribution of indigenous Antarctic species. While the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet, the Antarctic continent has, so far, experienced relatively little climatic change, but this is expected to change over the next century. Consequently, terrestrial communities are increasingly vulnerable, as climate change increases the risk of non-native species establishment and dispersal. Th is chapter describes non-native species in Antarctica that have already become established. Also described are the eradications that have been attempted and the practicality of minimizing microbial introductions. Finally, the chapter discusses recent policy developments relating to nonnative species and suggests that more needs to be done by the Antarctic Treaty Parties to implement biosecurity practices and eradicate existing non-native colonists, before fragile Antarctic communities are changed irreversibly.
... There are approximately 50 stations operating in Antarctica (Chown et al. 2012a) and most large sub-Antarctic islands have established research stations (de Villiers et al. 2006). Most stations are resupplied annually with people, food, cargo and building materials sourced from all over the world by national programmes (Chwedorzewska 2009;COMNAP 2009;Hughes et al. 2011). This cargo reaches the Antarctic region principally via ships, which are known vectors of alien species . ...
... While there have been a suite of studies quantifying the transport and introduction of alien plant propagules to the Antarctic region (e.g. Lee and Chown 2009a, b;Chown et al. 2012a;Litynska-Zajac et al. 2012), fewer studies have examined the introduction of alien invertebrates (although see Whinam et al. 2005;Hughes et al. 2011;Chwedorzewska et al. 2013;Tsujimoto and Imura 2012). To date, many different vectors have been identified for alien propagule transport to the Antarctic region, including: clothing (e.g. Lee and Chown 2009a;Chown et al. 2012a), food (e.g. ...
... To date, many different vectors have been identified for alien propagule transport to the Antarctic region, including: clothing (e.g. Lee and Chown 2009a;Chown et al. 2012a), food (e.g. Hughes et al. 2011;Chwedorzewska et al. 2013), cargo items (e.g. Tsujimoto and Imura 2012), cargo packaging (e.g. ...
Article
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Alien species pose an increasing threat to the biodiversity of the Antarctic region. Several alien species have established in Antarctic terrestrial communities, some representing novel functional groups such as pollinators and predators, with unknown impacts on ecosystem processes. We quantified the unintentional introduction of alien invertebrates to the Antarctic region over a 14-year period (2000–2013). To do this, probable pathways (Australian Antarctic cargo operations) and endpoints (research stations) for invertebrate introductions were searched. In addition, we undertook a stratified trapping programme targeting invertebrates on supply vessels in transit to the Antarctic region and also at cargo facilities in Australia during the 2012–2013 austral summer field season. Our results show that a diverse suite of invertebrate taxa were being introduced to the Antarctic region, with 1,376 individuals from at least 98 families observed or trapped during the sampling period. Many individuals were found alive. Diptera, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera were the most common taxa, comprising 74 % of the collection. At the family level, Phoridae (small flies) and Noctuidae (moths) were most commonly observed. Individuals from 38 different families were repeatedly introduced over the study period, sometimes in high numbers. Food and large cargo containers harboured the most individuals. These findings can assist in improving biosecurity protocols for logistic activities to Antarctica, thereby reducing the risk of invasions to the Antarctic region.
... Czarnecki and Bialasiewicz (1987), Osyczka et al. (2012) and Augustyniuk-Kram et al. (2013) analysed of fungal propagules from the air, food, timber, clothes, boots and equipment transported to the H. Arctowski Polar Station. Hughes et al. (2011Hughes et al. ( , 2018 focused on fungi associated with fresh produce (fruit and vegetables) and wooden cargo packaging transferred to the Antarctic region. ...
... This manual includes practical guidelines and resources to support the prevention of the introduction of nonnative species. Hughes et al. (2011) suggested a provisional list of measures reducing the risk of introductions of nonnative species to the Antarctic region associated with fresh food. One of the measures regarding the storage of fresh fruits and vegetables on a station is the use of germicidal lamps (UV-C) in storage areas. ...
... Less than one-third of the identified fungi isolated from the fruits and vegetables were not recorded previously from Antarctica. Similar results were obtained also by Hughes et al. (2011) who examined the microbial decomposition of fresh produce transported to Antarctica and found out that 28% of the food items showed microbial infection and 30% of the identified fungi were not recorded previously from the Antarctic region. Most of the fungal taxa identified in our study are commonly found on fresh food or in soil with cosmopolitan distribution outside Antarctica. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to investigate the fungal community associated with fruits and vegetables transported into the Antarctic region and observe qualitative changes of their surface mycobiota after UV-C treatment. This measure is used to prevent the post-harvest diseases of stored fruits and vegetables and reduce the risk of introducing non-native species to the Antarctic environment. In total, 82 strains of filamentous fungi were isolated from the surfaces of 64 pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables before and after their UV-C treatment. They were assigned to the genera Penicillium, Fusarium, Mucor, Cladosporium, and Acremonium. After the UV-C treatment of the examined fruits and vegetables, spores of the genera Fusarium, Cladosporium and Acremonium were not detected, while spores of the genera Penicillium and Mucor were more resistant and stayed viable after the treatment. Penicillium strains prevailed in the examined samples. Their introduction to the Antarctic environment could represent a potential risk for endemic autochthonous organisms.
... There is an exception, however, for carefully controlled importation of food into the Antarctic. Nevertheless, fresh foods, particularly leafy green or salad vegetables, do not store well over the long winter periods, and are known vectors for transportation of non-native species (Hughes et al. 2011;Houghton et al. 2016). For example, the presence of flying insects in food storage bays at Rothera station was found to correlate with ship and air resupply times (Hughes et al. 2011). ...
... Nevertheless, fresh foods, particularly leafy green or salad vegetables, do not store well over the long winter periods, and are known vectors for transportation of non-native species (Hughes et al. 2011;Houghton et al. 2016). For example, the presence of flying insects in food storage bays at Rothera station was found to correlate with ship and air resupply times (Hughes et al. 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
A non-native incursion of the collembolan, Xenylla sp. was found within the hydroponics facility at Davis Station, East Antarctica in May 2014. A rapid response was implemented to eradicate the incursion, including localised insecticide use, incineration of plants and growing media, sterilisation of the facility and three cycles of freezing/thawing of both internal rooms and external sub floor areas. Two consecutive years of summer monitoring programs have not detected any Collembola in station buildings or in the surrounding environment, suggesting the eradication was successful. This case highlights the importance of a multiple barrier approach to non-native species risks, and how activation of the last barrier—regular surveillance—resulted in early detection. The use of an online, real-time incident reporting system facilitated efficient communication between scientific experts, operational managers and expeditioners on site, resulting in a rapid and effective response following detection and potentially the first successful eradication of a non-native microarthropod in Antarctica. Monitoring will continue to confirm eradication.
... pg g − 1 ) and S27 (1503.7 pg g − 1 ) (Fig. 2), which were close to the station areas, possibly indicating local sources of pollution. Hughes et al. (2011) reported that at least 51 different varieties of fresh produce were delivered to Antarctica from the other continents, with soil found on 12% of all fresh produce (Hughes et al., 2011). Additionally, fresh produce is generally transported refrigerated, which fosters the retention of OCPs. ...
... pg g − 1 ) and S27 (1503.7 pg g − 1 ) (Fig. 2), which were close to the station areas, possibly indicating local sources of pollution. Hughes et al. (2011) reported that at least 51 different varieties of fresh produce were delivered to Antarctica from the other continents, with soil found on 12% of all fresh produce (Hughes et al., 2011). Additionally, fresh produce is generally transported refrigerated, which fosters the retention of OCPs. ...
Article
Antarctica is widely regarded as a sink for persistent organic pollutants (POPs). However, there is a scarcity of data on the occurrence and spatial pattern of POPs in Antarctica, especially in the cold-xeric East Antarctica. Here, organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in soils from the Larsemann Hills, the second-largest ice-free area along East Antarctica, were investigated. It is shown that the main OCP contaminants were HCB, p,p’-DDD and δ-HCH (3.7–1522.3 pg g⁻¹, 38.2–2276.6 pg g⁻¹ and < LOD–570 pg g⁻¹, respectively). OCPs in soils were primarily caused by long-distance atmospheric transport, but local sources can be found in areas heavily impacted by local human activities. Among DDTs and HCHs, only p,p’-DDD and δ-HCH were detected, indicating that DDTs and HCHs have aged. For PCBs (14.1–993.4 pg g⁻¹), low-chlorinated PCB congeners were found in soil samples far from the station areas (Zhongshan, Progress II, and Progress I), possibly due to long-range atmospheric transport, while high levels of high-chlorinated PCB were found in the soils inside the station area (Law Base) and close to the main road, possibly associated with local station activities. Among the measured PBDEs (81.8–695.5 pg g⁻¹), BDE-209 was the most frequently observed species, and the low-BDE found in soil samples could be from BDE-209 photodegradation. The majority of samples containing high concentrations of BDE-209 are concentrated in the station areas, implying that its source may be related to local station activities.
... Introductions of non-native species into Antarctic environments have also been reported Hughes et al., 2011;Houghton et al., 2014). Research has demonstrated that national program and tourist operations are vectors for non-native species and propagules Hughes et al., 2009;Chown et al., 2012;IAATO, 2012;Houghton et al., 2014). ...
... Incursions of non-native flora and fauna are occurring, with increasing ranges into natural habitats (Hughes and Worland, 2010;Olech and Chwedorzewska, 2011;Chwedorzewska et al., 2014). Although most species arriving are outside their climatic range, the diversity of species arriving Hughes et al., 2011;Houghton et al., 2014), and warming temperatures in Antarctic regions (Mulvaney et al., 2012), increases the possibility of establishment (Frenot et al., 2005;Chown et al., 2012;Hughes et al., 2012;Molina-Montenegro et al., 2014;Pertierra et al., 2016;Lee et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Research stations in Antarctica are concentrated on scarce ice-free habitats. Operating these stations in the harsh Antarctic climate provides many challenges, including the need to handle bulk fuel and cargo increasing the risk of environmental incidents. We examined 195 reports of environmental incidents from the Australian Antarctic Program, spanning six years, to investigate the impacts and pathways of contemporary environmental incidents. Fuel and chemical spills were most common, followed by biosecurity incursions. The majority of reports were assessed as having insignificant actual impacts. Either the incidents were small, or active, rapid response and mitigation procedures minimised impact. During the period only one spill report (4000 l) was assessed as a 'high' impact. This is despite over 13 million litres of diesel utilised. The majority of incidents occurred within the existing station footprints. The pathways leading to the incidents varied, with technical causes predominately leading to spills, and procedural failures leading to biosecurity incursions. The large number of reports with inconsequential impacts suggest an effective environmental management system with a good culture of reporting environmental incidents. Our findings suggest that the key to continual improvement in an ongoing environmental management system is to learn from incidences and take action to prevent them occurring again, with an end-goal of minimising the residual risk as much as possible.
... Moreover, increasing human activity in the polar regions combined with the effects of ongoing climate change stands to promote the possibility of high-latitude invasions (Cowan et al. 2011, Gederaas et al. 2012. Concern exists that disease transmission to and between wildlife populations might occur at high latitudes (Curry et al. 2005, Kerry andRiddle 2009), as might the introduction of pathogens (Cowan et al. 2011, Hughes et al. 2011, invertebrates (Hughes et al. 2011) and invasive plants (Chown et al. 2012, Alsos et al. 2015a). The consequences of such introductions are as yet largely unknown, but are likely to impact on existing community structure and functioning (Litchman 2010) and may cause disease to both fauna and flora (Kerry andRiddle 2009, Hughes et al. 2011). ...
... Moreover, increasing human activity in the polar regions combined with the effects of ongoing climate change stands to promote the possibility of high-latitude invasions (Cowan et al. 2011, Gederaas et al. 2012. Concern exists that disease transmission to and between wildlife populations might occur at high latitudes (Curry et al. 2005, Kerry andRiddle 2009), as might the introduction of pathogens (Cowan et al. 2011, Hughes et al. 2011, invertebrates (Hughes et al. 2011) and invasive plants (Chown et al. 2012, Alsos et al. 2015a). The consequences of such introductions are as yet largely unknown, but are likely to impact on existing community structure and functioning (Litchman 2010) and may cause disease to both fauna and flora (Kerry andRiddle 2009, Hughes et al. 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
Biosecurity measures are commonly used to prevent the introduction of non-native species to natural environments globally, yet the efficacy of practices is rarely tested under operational conditions. A voluntary biosecurity measure was trialled in the Norwegian high Arctic following concern that non-native species might be transferred to the region on the footwear of travellers. Passengers aboard an expedition cruise ship disinfected their footwear with the broad spectrum disinfectant Virkon S prior to and in-between landing at sites around the remote Svalbard archipelago. The authors evaluated the efficacy of simply stepping through a disinfectant foot bath, which is the most common practice of footwear disinfection aboard expedition cruise ships in the Arctic. This was compared to a more time consuming and little-used method involving drying disinfected footwear, as proposed by other studies. The two practices were evaluated by measuring microbial growth on paired footwear samples before and after disinfection under both conditions. Step-through disinfection did not substantially reduce microbial growth on the footwear. Allowing disinfected footwear to dry, however, reduced the microbial burden significantly to lower levels. Thus, the currently adopted procedures used aboard ships are ineffective at removing microbial burden and are only effective when footwear is given more time to dry than currently granted under operational conditions. These findings underscore results from empirical research performed elsewhere and suggest the need to better relay this information to practitioners. It is suggested that footwear should minimally be wiped dry after step-through disinfection as a reasonable compromise between biosecurity and practicability.
... It has been suggested that in-situ food production can actually reduce the risks of non-native species introduction [5]. These assertions are not without basis considering that Antarctic station food is sourced from over 750 worldwide locations (a varying level of quality control is certain) [58]. In addition to soils, invertebrates and microbial plant pathogens having been found on food shipments, there have also been more dramatic examples, such as the discovery of a frog within shipped stores of fresh salad [58,59]. ...
... These assertions are not without basis considering that Antarctic station food is sourced from over 750 worldwide locations (a varying level of quality control is certain) [58]. In addition to soils, invertebrates and microbial plant pathogens having been found on food shipments, there have also been more dramatic examples, such as the discovery of a frog within shipped stores of fresh salad [58,59]. ...
Conference Paper
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The development of plant production facilities for extreme environments presents challenges not typically faced by developers of greenhouses in more traditional environments. Antarctica represents one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth and presents unique challenges to facility developers with respect to environmental regulations, logistics, waste management, and energy use. The unique challenges associated with plant production in Antarctica heavily influence the selection of subsystem components and technologies as well as the operational paradigms used to operate the facilities. This paper details a wide array of the early design choices and trade-offs that have arisen in the development of Antarctic plant production facilities. Specific requirements and several guidelines stemming from the Antarctic Treaty's Protocol on Environment Protection and their influence on Antarctic plant production facilities are described. A review of guidelines for Antarctic greenhouses published by several national Antarctic operators is also described. The specific technology choices of several past and present Antarctic greenhouses are summarized, as are the general operational strategies, such as solid and nutrient solution waste handling. Specific lessons learned input was compiled directly from developers and operators of a number of these facilities. A discussion on the Antarctic climate, differences in Antarctic installation locations, internal versus external station plant growth facilities, preshipment testing programs, carbon dioxide enrichment and numerous other Antarctic facility design trade-offs are elaborated. It is hoped that this paper can serve as a useful checklist for future Antarctic plant production facility developers.
... pg g − 1 ) and S27 (1503.7 pg g − 1 ) (Fig. 2), which were close to the station areas, possibly indicating local sources of pollution. Hughes et al. (2011) reported that at least 51 different varieties of fresh produce were delivered to Antarctica from the other continents, with soil found on 12% of all fresh produce (Hughes et al., 2011). Additionally, fresh produce is generally transported refrigerated, which fosters the retention of OCPs. ...
... pg g − 1 ) and S27 (1503.7 pg g − 1 ) (Fig. 2), which were close to the station areas, possibly indicating local sources of pollution. Hughes et al. (2011) reported that at least 51 different varieties of fresh produce were delivered to Antarctica from the other continents, with soil found on 12% of all fresh produce (Hughes et al., 2011). Additionally, fresh produce is generally transported refrigerated, which fosters the retention of OCPs. ...
Article
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterised by chronic inflammation of joint synovial tissue and subsequent destruction of associated bone, cartilage and soft tissues. RA is commonly treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), glucocorticoids and biologic inhibitors of TNF, IL-1, IL-6, T cells and B cells. The use of these drugs especially biological agents has greatly improved the treatment of RA. Although the pathogenesis of RA remains unclear, T-cell mediated immune response is considered as a critical contributor in RA initiation and progression. It has been hypothesized that arthritogenic T cells (autoreactive T cells) escaping negative selection can recognize arthritogenic antigens and lead to autoimmunity and tissue destruction. Due to the important role of autoreactive T cells in the mechanisms of RA, they might be a novel therapeutic target. Many vaccines targeting autoreactive T cells which can establish immunological self tolerance have been developed. The efficacy of these vaccines has been justified in experimental models of RA and clinical trials. Inhibition of autoreactive T cell response by vaccination might provide a new treatment opinion in RA.
... By contrast with the growing number of studies of establishment potential (Duffy et al. 2017;Pertierra et al. 2017), investigations of the actual numbers of species (colonization pressure, sensu Lockwood et al. 2009) and propagules (propagule pressure) being transported to the Antarctic region are less common. Typically, these studies have focused on plants Lee and Chown 2009;Chown et al. 2012), with fewer studies documenting other groups (Hughes et al. 2011). Invertebrate colonization and propagule pressure on the Antarctic continent associated with either scientific or tourist activities have been the subject of only limited investigations (Hughes et al. 2005(Hughes et al. , 2015. ...
... Based on the available information, reported introductions are categorized by five main vectors. These are based on previous work (e.g. Lee and Chown 2009;Hughes et al. 2011;Chwedorzewska et al. 2013;Huiskes et al. 2014;Houghton et al. 2016) that had identified the importance of distinguishing vectors: aircraft and air cargo; clothing and equipment; original packaging of items; food; shipping containers. The level of reporting for other introductions (e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the significance of invertebrate species in the alien and invasive faunas of both sub-Antarctic and, increasingly, some Antarctic locations, little information exists on the numbers and identity of species being transported to the Antarctic region. Here we provide information on a decade (2006/2007–2016/2017) of detections in the surveillance program established at Scott Base in the Ross Sea region of continental Antarctica. The program found 233 individuals in 134 detection events, belonging to at least 14 Orders and 51 Families. Among these were alien, pest and synanthropic species recorded elsewhere on the globe or in the broader Antarctic region. These included sciarid flies known to have established in station sewage-treatment plants elsewhere on the continent. Flies, spiders and moths were most commonly detected, and typically in food (60% of interceptions), and then in clothing and equipment (11%), aircraft and cargo (11%) and packaging material (11%). Detected groups were similar to those found in the two other extensive surveillance efforts (King George Island and East Antarctica), highlighting the need to continue and improve surveillance across the region. For invertebrates, further control of the supply chain prior to embarkation of cargo and personnel may be the most effective management option to prevent further transport of non-indigenous species to the Antarctic.
... Eine Einschleppung infolge menschlicher Aktivitäten gilt jedoch als viel wahrscheinlicher (z. B. Frenot et al., 2005;Osyczka, 2010;Hughes et al., 2011;Chown et al., 2012;Litynska-Zajac et al., 2012) und wurde bereits mehrfach nachgewiesen (z. B. Block et al., 1984;Peter et al., 2008;Litynska-Zajac et al., 2012;Peter et al., 2013). ...
Technical Report
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Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean are under increasing pressure from cumulative impacts of climate change, pollution, fisheries, tourism and a variety of other human activities. These changes pose a high risk both to local polar ecosystems and to the regulation of the global climate, as well as through global sea-level rise. Thus, long-term monitoring programmes serve to assess the state of ecosystems as well as to make projections for future developments. The Fildes Region in the southwest King George Islands (South Shetland Islands, Maritime Antarctica), consisting of the Fildes Peninsula, Ardley Island and several offshore islands, is one of the largest ice-free areas in the Maritime Antarctic. As a continuation of a long-term monitoring programme started in the 1980s, local breeding bird and seal populations were recorded during the summer months (December, January, February) of the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons and supplemented by individual count data for the 2020/21 season. This study presents the results obtained, including the population development of the local breeding birds. Here, some species showed stable populations in a long-term comparison (brown skuas, southern polar skuas) or a significant increase (gentoo penguin, southern giant petrel). Other species, however, recorded significant declines in breeding pair numbers (Adélie penguin, chinstrap cenguin, Antarctic tern, kelp gull) up to an almost complete disappearance from the breeding area (cape petrel). In addition, the number of seals at their haul-out sites was recorded and the distribution of all seal reproduction sites in the Fildes Region was presented. Furthermore, data on the breeding bird population in selected areas of Maxwell Bay were added. Additionally, the rapid expansion of the Antarctic hairgrass was documented with the help of a completed repeat mapping. The documentation of glacier retreat areas of selected areas of Maxwell Bay was updated using satellite imagery and considered in relation to regional climatic development. Furthermore, the distribution and amount of marine debris washed up in the Fildes Region and the impact of anthropogenic material on seabirds will are addressed. In addition, the current knowledge of all introduced non-native species in the study area and the need for further research are presented.
... Supported by research quantifying non-native species propagule transfer to Antarctica in association with personal clothing, equipment, cargo, vehicles and fresh foods Lee and Chown, 2009a;Hughes et al., , 2011Chown et al., 2012b;Huiskes et al., 2014), the CEP Manual recognizes prevention of non-native species transfer to Antarctica as the most effective means of minimizing the associated risks. To support Parties in identifying simple cost-effective biosecurity measures to reduce propagule transfer, the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), in association with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), produced the 'Checklist for supply chain managers of national Antarctic programs to reduce the risk of transfer of non-native species' (available at: https:// www.comnap.aq/Publications/Comnap%20Publications/COMNAP_SCAR_ ...
Article
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Antarctic non-native species legislation is contained within the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, with 2016 marking the 25th anniversary of its adoption. We take this opportunity to evaluate the Antarctic Treaty signatory Parties' collective development and implementation of non-native species policy. In general, scientific and policy outputs have increased in the past decade. However, data detailing Parties' current implementation of biosecurity practices are not readily available. Little widespread, internationally coordinated or systematic monitoring of non-native species establishment has occurred, but available data suggest that establishment of non-native micro-invertebrates may be greatly underestimated. Several recent small-scale plant eradications have been successful, although larger-scale eradications present a greater challenge due to seed bank formation. Invertebrate establishment within research station buildings presents an increasing problem, with mixed eradication success to date. The opportunity now exists to build on earlier successes, such as the ‘CEP Non-native Species Manual’, towards the development of a comprehensive response strategy based upon the principles of prevention, monitoring and response, and applicable to all Antarctic environments. To help facilitate this we identify areas requiring further research and policy development, such as to reduce anthropogenic transfer of indigenous Antarctic species between distinct biogeographic regions, avoid microbial contamination of pristine areas and limit introduction of non-native marine species. A response protocol is proposed for use following the discovery of a potential non-native species within the Antarctica Treaty area, which includes recommendations concerning Parties' initial response and any subsequent eradication or control measures.
... Other pragmatic measures reducing the risk of non-native introductions through non-human vectors also need to be implemented, e.g. fresh food checks, cargo sterilisation (Hughes et al. 2011Hughes et al. , 2013 ). All measures must be efficient and effective, and standardised at all gateway ports and at all landing sites/destinations. ...
Chapter
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Four broad categories of human activities that presently threaten Antarctic wildlife in the Antarctic were identified: (1) tourism and non-governmental activities, (2) scientific research, (3) commercial fisheries and (4) whaling. Two further broad categories of threats that originate from multiple forms of human activities are: (1) shipping-related impacts and (2) the introduction of non-native species or disease-causing agents. These threats are not mutually exclusive, and there are various interactions and synergies present amongst them. We have not incorporated climate change into the assessment of each of these, but briefly assess the hierarchical contribution of climate change to other threats. We confidently expect an expansion of virtually all anthropogenic activities in the Antarctic (primarily tourism, research and fisheries) in the next 50 years. The threats will also increase in their complex synergies and interactions, giving further increasing urgency to adopting a more precautionary approach to managing human activities in the Antarctic. We present predictions for 2060 and list suggested proactive management and conservation strategies to address the predicted threats to Antarctic wildlife and their environment.
... Human impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity can be destructive. Locally in Antarctica, human activities introduce species (Bergstrom, 2022;Hughes et al., 2011b), disturb fauna and vegetation, compact soil (O'Neill et al., 2013), cause sewage and hydrocarbon contamination (Camenzuli & Freidman, 2015), and compete for space (Putzke et al., 2020). Cumulative impacts are magnified by human activities being mostly constrained to ice-free areas (Brooks et al., 2019a), and will increase with climate change (Bennett et al., 2015), intensified research activities (i.e., Figure 3) and expanding tourism (Brooks et al., 2019a;Lee et al., 2017). ...
Preprint
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Monitoring and understanding Antarctica is critical for conservation of its values. Remote sensing has been increasingly employed to observe large areas at higher frequency than traditional monitoring methods, enabling systematic assessments at low cost. However, currently there are limitations in the ability of the available remote sensing tools to answer the most pressing scientific, ecological, and biological questions associated with anthropogenic impacts, including climate change, in Antarctica. Here we summarise the latest findings on remote sensing tools and techniques, identifying the gaps and highlighting priority areas for future development. Major ongoing challenges concern the intensive cloud coverage and ephemeral snow cover that prevent ongoing observations of ice-free areas and the fine spatial scales required to undertake assessments of terrestrial ecosystems, their biota, and the human footprint. Opportunities arise in the realms of advanced statistical techniques to harness the potential of increasingly available data from orbital satellites and Unmanned Aerial Systems also commonly known as drones, at multiple scales and resolutions. We conclude that harnessing emerging technological advances in remote sensing will enable new understanding and ultimately protection of Antarctic ecosystems.
... Thorp and Lynch (2000) 2008; Essl et al. 2015). For example, a risk assessment of pathways into the Antarctic found high propagule loads for fresh produce (especially leafy produce; Hughes et al. 2011), infrastructure development activities, and entrainment on the clothing of visiting tourists and scientists (Chown et al. 2012). This knowledge has allowed five particular pathways of introduction to the region to be prioritized for management (COMNAP 2014). ...
... Modified with permission from Thorp and Lynch (2000) 2008; Essl et al. 2015). For example, a risk assessment of pathways into the Antarctic found high propagule loads for fresh produce (especially leafy produce; Hughes et al. 2011), infrastructure development activities, and entrainment on the clothing of visiting tourists and scientists (Chown et al. 2012). This knowledge has allowed five particular pathways of introduction to the region to be prioritized for management (COMNAP 2014). ...
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Prioritization is indispensable for the management of biological invasions, as recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity, its current strategic plan, and specifically Aichi Target 9 that concerns invasive alien species. Here we provide an overview of the process, approaches and the data needs for prioritization for invasion policy and management, with the intention of informing and guiding efforts to address this target. Many prioritization schemes quantify impact and risk, from the pragmatic and action-focused to the data-demanding and science-based. Effective prioritization must consider not only invasive species and pathways (as mentioned in Aichi Target 9), but also which sites are most sensitive and susceptible to invasion (not made explicit in Aichi Target 9). Integrated prioritization across these foci may lead to future efficiencies in resource allocation for invasion management. Many countries face the challenge of prioritizing with little capacity and poor baseline data. We recommend a consultative, science-based process for prioritizing impacts based on species, pathways and sites, and outline the information needed by countries to achieve this. This should be integrated into a national process that incorporates a broad suite of social and economic criteria. Such a process is likely to be feasible for most countries.
... Human activities in this region have developed from their beginnings in the 1820s in connection with seal and whale hunting to the tourism, logistics and scientific activities of the present day. The possible introduction of non-native species as a result of human activities plays a significant role in the colonisation of local biotopes (Frenot et al. 2005;Hughes et al. 2010;Osyczka 2010;Cowan et al. 2011;Hughes et al. 2011;Chown et al. 2012;Litynska-Zajac et al. 2012), including newly-created habitats in the wake of glacial retreat. Among the introduced species already shown to be present on King George Island are grasses such as Poa annua, Juncus bufonis (Chwedorzewska 2008;Olech et al. 2011;Cuba-Diaz et al. 2013;United Kingdom 2014) and Poa sp. ...
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The Fildes Region (King George Island, South Shetland Islands), consisting of the Fildes Peninsula, the neighbouring Ardley Island and all larger, nearby islands, is one of the largest ice-free regions in maritime Antarctica and has a relatively high level of biodiversity. This area also represents the logistical centre of the Antarctic Peninsula with its six permanent stations, numerous field huts and an airstrip which often leads to conflict of interests between the different use groups. Given the great importance of long-term monitoring programmes, especially in regions with natural resources at high risk and in areas of rapid climatic change, the survey of local breeding birds and seal communities started in the 1980s in the Fildes Region was continued in the summer months (December to February) of the 2012/13 to 2014/15 seasons. Besides, a monitoring of breeding birds in all large ice-free areas of Maxwell Bay, which borders the Fildes Region. These included the Barton, Weaver and Potter Peninsulas, Green Point (all on King George Island) and for the Stansbury Peninsula, Martin and Duthoit Points (all on Nelson Island). To analyse long-term trends in the bird and seal populations, extensive data from numerous, still unpublished expedition reports of German scientists from the 1980s and all available literature were added to recent observations. The results of both monitoring focus areas are presented in this research report. It could be shown, that regarding their breeding pair numbers most seabird species depend primarily on environmental factors, whereas others are more affected by anthropogenic impacts. Additionally, considerable glacial retreat in selected regions of the Maxwell Bay with reference to the regional climate changes were documented on the basis of aerial and satellite images.
... Since ca. 1990, there has been a total ban on fresh produce being brought ashore as this was identified as a major introduction pathway for non-indigenous invertebrates (Anonymous 1996; see also Hughes et al. 2011). However, despite some of the most stringent biosecurity protocols in the region, new invertebrate species keep arriving on Marion Island (see Lee et al. 2007 for a list of introductions between 2002 and 2007). ...
Article
Distinguishing between species that are recent natural colonists, recent anthropogenic introductions, or previously unknown, but long-term resident native species, is a challenge for those who manage the conservation of the Antarctic region. Here, we report the discovery of two new arthropod species on sub-Antarctic Marion Island—Nabis capsiformis Germar (Heteroptera: Nabidae) and Tetrag-natha sp. (Araneomorphae: Tetragnathidae). On the basis of their habitat use, dispersal abilities, historic biodiversity survey records, and limited information on genetic diversity , we conclude that the colonization events were natural.
... Antarctica is still a relatively pristine biome, but the increasing presence of Man combined with global climate change, which is accelerated in this region of the Earth, is causing substantial changes to the Antarctic ecosystem [1][2][3][4][5] . Regional warming is more pronounced in the adjacent Antarctic Peninsula and islands, where the temperature increase has been +0.56°C per decade from 1951 to 2000 [6][7] . ...
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Juncus bufonius L. (Juncaceae) is recognized by the US Department of Agriculture as a weed or invasive plant. Recently, we reported on J. bufonius L. var. bufonius associated with the native vascular plants Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis in the environs of the Polish Arctowski Station, King George Island, in the Maritime Antarctica. In this study, we evaluated the developmental stages and morphological characteristics of J. bufonius plants cultivated in controlled conditions beginning with seeds obtained from plants of the Antarctic population. Germination occurred at 3 weeks and the germination percentage was low (22.5%). The average time between the anthesis and seed formation was 7 weeks, similar to that reported for other species in the Juncaceae. According to data reported in the literature, Antarctic individuals were significantly smaller than their relatives growing in other conditions, except for the number of inflorescences. The morphological characteristics of a species vary according to its distribution and the edaphoclimatic environment where it occur; cosmopolitan plants shuch as J. bufonius also have reduced stature in cold environments. The low percentage germination may have been due to water availability in the plant chamber in which the study was conducted. J. bufonius is intolerant of dry environments, and once it suffers hydric stress its recovery is very low; thus, a moister environment could be beneficial. J. bufonius has become established amongst native vegetation near Arctowski Station and without careful control or eradication; it may have the potential to spread far beyond the site, as has happened with the alien grass Poa annua as human disturbance and climate warming increase.
... However, no terrestrial species introduced to the Antarctic continent intentionally (mainly for scientific research reasons) have been formally identified as invasive (Smith 1996), but intentional introductions to most subAntarctic islands, before the adoption of legislation prohibiting or controlling this activity, have resulted in substantial impacts (see Convey and Lebouvier 2009). Under current legislative systems, unintentional introductions present the greatest threats to sub-Antarctic and Antarctic ecosystems (Frenot et al. 2005), with non-native species potentially being introduced associated with visitors' clothing and personal effects ( Whinam et al. 2005;Chown et al. 2012b;Huiskes et al. 2014), cargo ( Tsujimoto and Imura 2012), building material (Lee and Chown 2009) and fresh foods ( Hughes et al. 2011). ...
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Until recently the Antarctic continent and Peninsula have been little impacted by non-native species, compared to other regions of the Earth. However, reports of species introductions are increasing as awareness of biological invasions as a major conservation threat, within the context of increased human activities and climate change scenarios, has grown within the Antarctic community. Given the recent increase in documented reports, here we provide an up-to-date inventory of known terrestrial non-native species introductions, including those subsequently removed since the 1990s, within the Antarctic Treaty area. This builds on earlier syntheses of records published in the mid-2000s, which focused largely on the sub-Antarctic islands, given the dearth of literature available at that time from the continental and maritime Antarctic regions. Reports of non-native species established in the natural environment (i.e. non-synanthropic) are mainly located within the Antarctic Peninsula region and Scotia Arc, with Deception Island, South Shetland Islands, the most impacted area. Non-native plants have generally been removed from sites of introduction, but no established invertebrates have yet been subject to any eradication attempt, despite a recent increase in reports. Legislation within the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty has not kept pace with environmental best practice, potentially presenting difficulties for the practical aspects of non-native species control and eradication. The success of any eradication attempt may be affected by management practices and the biology of the target species under polar conditions. Practical management action is only likely to succeed with greater co-operation and improved communication and engagement by nations and industries operating in the region.
... Indeed, although meat is generally supplied frozen with long-term storage at -20°C, which itself likely kills introduced microorganisms, imported fruit and vegetables can easily include non-Antarctic soil residue, insect pests (including eggs and early instar stages) and microorganisms [65]. It is estimated that Antarctic fresh foods are sourced from 750 different locations and that the specific locations can vary from year to year [47]. In a recent study more than 11,000 fruit and vegetable items destined for nine different research stations were examined for the presence of significant soil, invertebrate and microbial contamination (51 food types from approximately 130 locations). ...
Conference Paper
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Designs for an Antarctic plant production system to be deployed at Germany's Neumayer Station III are presented. Characterization and testing of several key controlled environment agriculture technologies are ongoing at the German Aerospace Center's Institute of Space Systems. Subsystems under development at the Evolution and Design of Environmentally-Closed Nutrition-Sources (EDEN) laboratory include, tuned LED lighting, aeroponic nutrient delivery, ion-selective sensors and modular growth pallets. The Antarctic greenhouse module baseline form factor is a standard sea shipping container, which allows for use of nominal Antarctic logistics networks. The facility will be fixed onto a specially constructed platform and co-located near the Alfred Wegner Institute's Neumayer Station III. The plant production facility will be operated year-round with maximum production per unit volume achieved through the deployment of modular grow units in a stackable rack architecture. In such a configuration the greenhouse module system can provide several kilograms of fresh edible biomass per day. Forty foot and 20 ft container configurations are described as well as the general design requirements, including specifics relevant to operations at Neumayer III. Successful deployment of such a facility will further the technology readiness and operational experience of space-based bioregenerative life support systems. Finally, the general design is presented in the context of an historical review of past Antarctic plant production facilities. This first known inventory of documented Antarctic plant production facilities, organizes the facilities with respect to Antarctic station, dates of operation, internal/external configuration and estimated production area.
... Once non-native species are introduced, they may become established and, in some cases, become invasive through expansion of their distribution and displacement of indigenous biodiversity. Non-native species can be introduced inadvertently to Antarctic terrestrial environments associated with imported cargo, vehicles, fresh foods, scientific equipment and personal clothing and effects (Lee & Chown 2009a, 2009bHughes, Lee et al. 2011;Chown, Huiskes et al. 2012;Tsujimoto & Imura 2012). Although less well characterized and apparently infrequent within Antarctica, introductions to marine environments may occur through transport on ship hulls or in ballast water (Lewis et al. 2003;Lewis et al. 2006;United Kingdom 2006;Lee & Chown 2007). ...
Article
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The introduction of non-native species to Antarctica in association with human activities is a major threat to indigenous biodiversity and the region's unique ecosystems, as has been well-demonstrated in other ecosystems globally. Existing legislation contained in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty does not specifically make the eradication of non-native species mandatory, although it is implicit that human-assisted introductions should not take place. Furthermore, to date, eradications of non-native species in the Treaty area have been infrequent and slow to progress. In 2005 an additional Annex (VI) to the Protocol was agreed concerning “Liability arising from environmental emergencies.” This annex focusses on prevention of environmental emergencies, contingency planning and reclaiming costs incurred when responding to an environmental emergency caused by another operator within the Antarctic Treaty area. However, the types of environmental emergencies covered by the annex are not defined. In this paper we highlight potential difficulties with the application of Annex VI in the context of non-native species control and eradication, including, for example, whether a non-native species introduction would be classified as an “environmental emergency” and therefore be considered under the terms of the annex. Even if this were the case, we conclude that the slow pace of approval of the annex by Antarctic Treaty Parties may prevent it coming into force for many years and, once in force, in its current form it is unlikely to be useful for reclaiming costs associated with the eradication or management of a non-native species.
... Davis (2009) , Introduction générale bagages dans la proportion de propagules effectivement libérées dans le milieu et, ainsi, de suggérer des mesures de biosécurité spécifiques à ce vecteur. Plus récemment, Hughes et al. (2011) ont montré que l'approvisionnement des bases scientifiques de la région antarctique en nourriture fraîche est également l'un des vecteurs majeurs d'introduction d'espèces. Des études complémentaires sont nécessaires pour développer des réponses adéquates aux échanges de propagules intra-île (îles subantarctiques) ou intra-région (Antarctique), qui peuvent notamment contribuer à la dissémination et l'invasion d'espèces déjà naturalisées ). ...
Article
The success of invasive species depends on the adequacy between their life history traits and the environmental characteristics (biotic and abiotic) of their new habitats. The invasive success may then rely on pre-adaptation, be triggered by the release of some selection pressures, perturbations, or quick responses of the organism to the new selection pressures. Phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary processes are then prime components in biological invasions, so that invasive species can be considered as key models for monitoring ecological and evolutionary processes in real time. We thus investigated morphological and ecophysiological responses produced in time and space during the invasion of the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Islands by the predatory ground beetle Merizodus soledadinus and the saprophagous blowfly Calliphora vicina, which possess contrasted life strategies. We show morphological differentiation among populations of M. soledadinus depending on their residence time, as well as rapid changes of the C. vicina's wing morphology in these islands where flightlessness is the rule. The invasion of M. soledadinus was studied with special emphasis on the role played by phenotypic plasticity in colonizing habitats that differ from native ones (physiological plasticity to salinity) and maintaining durable populations despite the negative feedback of this predator on the availability of its own prey (trophic plasticity). As they spread and encounter novel selection regimes, these adjustments at different timescales are of paramount importance in the invasive success of both these insect species.
... Indeed, although meat is generally supplied frozen with long-term storage at -20°C, which itself likely kills introduced microorganisms, imported fruit and vegetables can easily include non-Antarctic soil residue, insect pests (including eggs and early instar stages) and microorganisms [65]. It is estimated that Antarctic fresh foods are sourced from 750 different locations and that the specific locations can vary from year to year [47]. In a recent study more than 11,000 fruit and vegetable items destined for nine different research stations were examined for the presence of significant soil, invertebrate and microbial contamination (51 food types from approximately 130 locations). ...
Conference Paper
Designs for an Antarctic plant production system to be deployed at Germany’s Neumayer Station III are presented. Characterization and testing of several key controlled environment agriculture technologies are ongoing at the German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Space Systems. Subsystems under development at the Evolution and Design of Environmentally-Closed Nutrition-Sources (EDEN) laboratory include, tuned LED lighting, aeroponic nutrient delivery, ion-selective sensors and modular growth pallets. The Antarctic greenhouse module baseline form factor is a standard sea shipping container, which allows for use of nominal Antarctic logistics networks. The facility will be fixed onto a specially constructed platform and co-located near the Alfred Wegner Institute’s Neumayer Station III. The plant production facility will be operated year-round with maximum production per unit volume achieved through the deployment of modular grow units in a stackable rack architecture. In such a configuration the greenhouse module system can provide several kilograms of fresh edible biomass per day. Forty foot and 20 ft container configurations are described as well as the general design requirements, including specifics relevant to operations at Neumayer III. Successful deployment of such a facility will further the technology readiness and operational experience of space-based bioregenerative life support systems. Finally, the general design is presented in the context of an historical review of past Antarctic plant production facilities. This first known inventory of documented Antarctic plant production facilities, organizes the facilities with respect to Antarctic station, dates of operation, internal/external configuration and estimated production area.
... El aislamiento del continente Antártida llevaría a pensar que cuenta con pocas especies invasoras, en comparación con otras regiones de la Tierra (Frenot et al., 2005;Hughes & Coney, 2010), sin embargo, desde la llegada de los humanos a las islas subantárticas a fines del siglo XVIII y principios del XIX, la cantidad de especies introducidas han aumentado (Frenot et al., 2005;Convey & Lebouvier, 2009). Las zonas Antárticas en las que se han registrado mayor influencia de especies invasoras, son aquellas que se encuentran más cercanas al continente Sudamericano y con un mayor impacto antropogénico (Frenot et al., 2005;Whinam et al., 2005;Hughes et al., 2011;Convey et al., 2012;Hughes & Convey, 2014). Debido a estas preocupaciones, se aprobó el Protocolo del Tratado Antártico sobre Protección Ambiental, el cual prohíbe la introducción intencional de especies no autóctonas en la Antártida, excepto con un permiso expedido y que estipula su remoción o eliminación antes de la expiración de dicho permiso (Potocka & Krzeminska, 2018). ...
Article
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Las invasiones biológicas se encuentran entre lasamenazas más importantes para la biodiversidad a nivelmundial. En general la introducción de nuevas especiesen regiones geográficas fuera de su lugar de origen seha producido por razones económicas, científicas ysociales teniendo un impacto, muchas veces conconsecuencias imprevistas. La Antártida es uno de loslugares más remotos de la Tierra y uno de los hábitatsmás prístinos. El aislamiento del continente Antárticollevaría a pensar que cuenta con pocas especiesinvasoras, sin embargo, desde la llegada de los humanosa las islas subantárticas, se ha registrado un aumento deespecies no autóctonas. La mayoría de las especiesintroducidas en el territorio Antártico no han podidosobrevivir a las condiciones climáticas, pero hay otrasque si lo han hecho como es el caso del díptero Trichocera(Saltrichocera) maculipennis Meigen, 1818. Dicha especiese registro por primera vez en 2006 en la Base CientíficaAntártica Artigas y continúa siendo reportada en variasBases científicas antárticas. Este trabajo presenta datossobre la abundancia de T. maculipennis en sitios de laBase Científica Antártica Artigas de la Isla Rey Jorgemediante el empleo y la efectividad de trampasalternativas utilizadas en el muestreo de esta especie.Se discuten los datos obtenidos a la luz de planes demitigación hacia programa de control y erradicación másefectivos de esta especie en instalaciones de las BasesCientíficas de la Isla Rey Jorge y evaluar la efectividadde trampas de pegamento utilizadas para el muestreo dela especie.
... The CEP has been aware of the issue of non-native species for many years and initiated further work on the topic, including through the Nonnative Species Workshop in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2006(Rogan-Finnemore, 2008 following the publication of a comprehensive review of the issue by Frenot et al. (2005) and the delivery of the SCAR lecture on the topic to the ATCM by Prof. Steven Chown in 2005. As a result of SCAR and COMNAP initiatives and international programmes conducted during the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (e.g. the 'Aliens in Antarctica' project; Hughes et al., 2010Hughes et al., , 2011bChown et al., 2012b;Huiskes et al., 2014), the threat to the Antarctic terrestrial and marine environment due to the introduction of non-native species in a context of climate change, was more clearly defined (SCAR, 2012). This issue is of the highest priority for the CEP and, with further substantial input from SCAR, the Committee has agreed guidelines included within the Non-native Species Manual (see: http://www.ats.aq/e/ep_faflo. ...
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The Antarctic has significant environmental, scientific, historic, and intrinsic values, all of which are worth protecting into the future. Nevertheless, the area is subject to an increasing level and diversity of human activities that may impact these values within marine, terrestrial and cryosphere environments. Threats to the Antarctic environment, and to the aforementioned values, include climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, wildlife disturbance and non-native species introductions. Over time, a suite of legally binding international agreements, which form part of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), has been established to help safeguard the Antarctic environment and provide a framework for addressing the challenges arising from these threats. Foremost among these agreements are the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Many scientists working in Antarctica undertake research that is relevant to Antarctic environmental policy development. More effective two-way interaction between scientists and those responsible for policy development would further strengthen the governance framework, including by (a) better communication of policy makers’ priorities and identification of related science requirements and (b) better provision by scientists of ‘policy-ready’ information on existing priorities, emerging issues and scientific/technological advances relevant to environmental protection. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) has a long and successful record of summarizing policy-relevant scientific knowledge to policy makers, such as through its Group of Specialists on Environmental Affairs and Conservation (GOSEAC) up to 2002, currently the SCAR Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treaty System (SCATS) and recently through its involvement in the Antarctic Environments Portal. Improvements to science-policy communication mechanisms, combined with purposeful consideration of funding opportunities for policy-relevant science, would greatly enhance international policy development and protection of the Antarctic environment.
... Human activities in the Antarctic are concentrated mainly in small, scattered, ice-free coastal zones. Most of the research stations are also located at these coastal areas which are at the same time favorable to development of biological communities (e.g., Hughes and Convey 2014;Hughes et al. 2011). Moreover, the sites most likely visited by tourists coincide with the locations of most scientific bases and high wildlife concentration. ...
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Successful alien species invasion depends on many factors studied mostly in post invasion habitats, and subsequently summarized in frameworks tailored to describe the studied invasion. We used an existing expanded framework with three groups of contributing factors: habitat invisibility, system context and species invasiveness, to analyze the probability of alien species invasions in terrestrial communities of Maritime Antarctic in the future. We focused on the first two factor groups. We tested if the expanded framework could be used under a different scenario. We chose Point Thomas Oasis on King George Island to perform our analysis. Strong geographical barrier, low potential bioclimatic suitability and resource availability associated with habitat invasibility significantly reduce the likelihood of biological invasion in Antarctica. An almost full enemy release (low pressure of consumers), the high patchiness of the habitat, and the prevalence of open gaps also associated with habitat invasibility increase the possibility of invasion. The dynamics of functional connectivity, propagule pressure and spatio-temporal patterns of propagule arrival associated with human activity and climate change belonging to the system context contribute to an increase in the threat of invasions. Due to the still low land transport activity migration pathways are limited and will reduce the spread of alien terrestrial organisms by land. An effective way of preventing invasions in Antarctica seems to lie in reducing propagule pressure and eliminating alien populations as early as possible. The expanded conceptual framework opens up wider possibilities in analyzing invasions taking place in different systems and with multiple taxa.
... Here we outline the main regulatory frameworks relevant to NNMS in Antarctica (Figure 2.6). concern has grown over biosecurity measures in place for Antarctica, particularly for terrestrial environments (Chown et al., 2012;Hughes et al., 2011Hughes et al., , 2015Hughes & Convey, 2010Lewis et al., 2003;McGeoch et al., 2015) and a decisionmaking process for dealing with suspected introduced species has been formulated (Hughes & Convey, 2012). While response plans for eradication and management of nonnative terrestrial species are in development, the limited information about non-native marine species has created difficulties for the development of marine-focused policies (Hughes & Pertierra, 2016). ...
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Invasive non-native species are a major threat to global biodiversity. For at least 15 million years coastal Antarctica has been poorly connected to nearby temperate ecosystems due to physical and physiological barriers. Yet, Antarctica is experiencing significant environmental change and becoming increasingly exposed to ship-borne human activity that crosses the physical barriers. These factors may facilitate the establishment of non-native marine species. This doctoral research adds insight into the risk of non-native marine species being transported to Antarctica via ships’ hulls and internal seawater systems, with particular focus on pathways of introduction and species found within those pathways. To begin my research, I assessed the current knowledge of non-native marine species in the Antarctic region: the physical and physiological factors that resist establishment of non-native marine species; changes to resistance under climate change; the role of legislation in limiting marine introductions; and the effect of increasing human activity on vectors and pathways of introduction. Evidence of non-native marine species was limited: up to 2019 just four marine non-native and one cryptogenic species that were likely introduced anthropogenically had been reported free-living in Antarctica or in the sub-Antarctica islands, but no established populations have been reported. An additional six species had been observed in pathways to Antarctica that are potentially at risk of becoming invasive. I estimated there may be approximately 180 vessels and 500+ voyages in Antarctic waters annually. However, these estimates are necessarily speculative because relevant data are not recorded comprehensively. In response to the scarcity of data on ship movements into the Southern Ocean, I obtained data on ship activity in the Southern Ocean from 2014-2018 inclusive and developed a ship traffic network for Antarctic-going vessels. I analysed the ship movements and conducted a spatially-explicit assessment of introduction risk for non-native marine species in all Antarctic waters. I found that vessels connect Antarctica via an extensive network of ship activity to all global regions, and especially South Atlantic and European ports. Ship visits were more than seven times higher to the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands than elsewhere around Antarctica. I found that, while the five recognised ‘Antarctic Gateway cities’ are important last ports of call, an additional 53 ports had vessels directly departing to Antarctica from 2014-2018. I identified ports outside Antarctica where biosecurity interventions could be most effective and the most vulnerable Antarctic locations where monitoring programmes for high-risk invaders should be established. Biofouling communities within the major pathway to Antarctica from Europe via the South Atlantic, identified in the network analysis, became my next focus. I obtained biofouling samples from the polar research vessel RRS James Clark Ross and found that niche (protected) areas of the hull represent significantly greater colonisation (species richness) and propagule pressure (individual abundance) than exposed areas of the hull. The composition of the biological communities did not differ among exposed and niche areas, but did change significantly among the three surveys conducted. Only six species were found on the ship’s hull in Antarctica, but they included a known invasive bryozoan, Tricellaria inopinata, and barnacles that have no counterparts in Antarctica. While the role of hull fouling is recognised as a globally important vector for introductions of non-native marine species, the role of a vessel’s internal pipework has been overlooked. I conducted the first comprehensive study of biofouling macrofauna living inside an Antarctic vessel’s internal seawater systems, finding breeding communities of Jassa marmorata (Amphipoda) and mytilid mussels throughout the internal pipework system. I found fouling communities that occluded ~9-17% of a pipe’s cross-sectional area, increasing running costs for ships. Since ships are constantly pumping their water through their pipework, they are likely to be releasing propagules at all stages of their voyages, including in polar regions. Before I started my research, Antarctic operators and policy-makers were unaware of the total number of vessels that visit Antarctica. Now, I have provided comprehensive insight into the most traversed routes to Antarctica and identified Antarctic locations that are the most likely recipient locations for non-native marine species. I found that non-native species from temperate regions can survive passages through polar areas and that sheltered sections of the hull and internal systems are especially important sites for both propagule and colonisation pressure. Together, these results demonstrate that Antarctica is well connected to worldwide marine ecosystems and that biofouling on ships poses an important and growing introduction risk to Antarctica.
... Until now, in most cases, the presence of flying, potentially invasive, invertebrates in Antarctica corresponded with ships' or aircrafts' operations during supply periods for scientific stations (Hughes et al., 2011). The Chilean Frei Station's airport on Fildes Peninsula, King George Island, may be considered as a potential transport hub for non- native species between South America and other regions of King George Island, other islands in the South Shetlands archipelago, and Antarctic Peninsula region. ...
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Antarctica, with its severe conditions, is poor in terrestrial fauna species. However, an increase in human presence together with climate change may cause an influx of non-native species. Here we report a significant increase in colonized area of one of the few known invasive species to date in Antarctica. Non-native flies of Trichocera maculipennis have been recently observed in the Admiralty Bay area on King George Island, South Shetlands Islands, West Antarctica, 10 years after its first record in Maritime Antarctica (Maxwell Bay, King George Island). Its rapid spread across the island, despite geographic barriers such as glaciers, indicates successful adaptation to local environmental conditions and suggests this species is invasive. The mode of life of T. maculipennis , observed in natural and anthropogenous habitat and in laboratory conditions, is reported. The following adaptations enabled its invasion and existence within the sewage system in Antarctic scientific stations: the ability to survive in complete darkness, male ability to mate on the substrate surface without prior swarming in flight, and adaptation of terrestrial larvae to survive in semi-liquid food. Possible routes of introduction to Antarctica and between two bays on King George Island are discussed, as well as further research leading to the containment and eradication of this species.
... Furthermore, both Trichoderma and Mucor spp. have been reported in studies examining non-native fungi introduced to research stations on clothing and equipment (Augustyniuk-Kram 2013) and fresh foods (Hughes et al. 2011b), with a Trichoderma strain also having been isolated previously from wood packaging (Kerry 1990a). Moreover, the high isolation frequency of Mucor spp. ...
Article
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The harsh climatic conditions and low levels of human activity in Antarctica, relative to other regions, means few non-native species have established. However, the risk of introductions is becoming greater as human activity increases. Non-native microorganisms can be imported to Antarctica in association with fresh food, cargo and personal clothing, but the likelihood of their establishment is not well understood. In January 2015, a wooden packing crate, heavily contaminated with fungi, was imported by aircraft from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Rothera Research Station, Antarctica. Mucor racemosus Bull. and two strains of Trichoderma viridescens (A.S. Horne & H.S. Will.) Jaklitsch & Samuels were isolated from the wood. Measurements of hyphal extension rates indicated that all three strains were psychrotolerant and capable of growth at 4°C, with M. racemosus growing at 0°C. The imported fungi could grow at rates equivalent to, or faster than, species isolated from Antarctic soils, suggesting that low temperature may not be a limiting factor for establishment. It is recommended that wood heat-treatment standards, equivalent to those described in the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15, are employed by national operators importing cargo into Antarctica, and that treated wood is adequately stored to prevent fungal contamination prior to transportation.
... The spatial isolation of the Antarctic continent, its extreme weather conditions and the very small extent of appropriate habitat offer some protection against colonization by non-native species . Within the Antarctic Treaty area (the area south of latitude 60°S) human activities, particularly those of tourism and national government operators, increasingly contribute to the risk of non-native species being transported to the continent along anthropogenic pathways (Frenot et al. 2005;Whinam et al. 2005;Hughes et al. 2005Hughes et al. , 2011Convey et al. 2012;Lee and Chown 2009;IAATO 2015). The South Shetland Islands, located north-west of the Antarctic Peninsula, have been identified as the region of Antarctica most at risk from non-native species introductions, due to a combination of high human activity levels, relatively benign climatic conditions compared to other Antarctic regions, and predicted climate change impacts, with species being transported to the region from countries across the planet (Chown et al. 2012;Huiskes et al. 2014;Convey and Peck 2019;Hughes et al. 2020). ...
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Antarctica currently has few non-native species, compared to other regions of the planet, due to the continent’s isolation, extreme climatic conditions and the lack of habitat. However, human activity, particularly the activities of national government operators and tourism, increasingly contributes to the risk of non-native species transfer and establishment. Trichocera (Saltitrichocera) maculipennis Meigen, 1888 (Diptera, Trichoceridae) is a non-native fly originating from the Northern Hemisphere that was unintentionally introduced to King George Island in the maritime Antarctic South Shetland Islands around 15 years ago, since when it has been reported within or in the vicinity of several research stations. It is not explicitly confirmed that T. maculipennis has established in the natural environment, but life-history characteristics make this likely, thereby making potential eradication or control a challenge. Antarctic Treaty Parties active in the region are developing a coordinated and expanding international response to monitor and control T. maculipennis within and around stations in the affected area. However, there remains no overarching non-native invasive species management plan for the island or the wider maritime Antarctic region (which shares similar environmental conditions and habitats to those of King George Island). Here we present some options towards the development of such a plan. We recommend the development of (1) clear mechanisms for the timely coordination of response activities by multiple Parties operating in the vicinity of the introduction location and (2) policy guidance on acceptable levels of environmental impacts resulting from eradication attempts in the natural environment, including the use of pesticides.
... Species may be moved between regions within Antarctica by a variety of anthropogenic mechanisms, including ships, aircraft and overland vehicles (see Figs. 4 and 5 and Supplementary Material B). A body of recent scientific work has focussed on the quantification of nonnative species propagule loads being transferred into Antarctica associated with different human-associated pathways, such as cargo (Lee and Chown, 2009a (Hughes et al., 2011b), ships (Lewis et al., 2003;Lee and Chown, 2007;Hughes and Ashton, 2017) and through human clothing and personal equipment Litynska-Zajac et al., 2012;Huiskes et al., 2014). However, with the exception of the study by Lee and Chown (2011), who looked at propagule load on personnel travelling from sub-Antarctic Marion Island to SANAE IV station (ACBR 6), propagule loads are yet to be quantified for personnel moving between biogeographic regions, and detailed information on the number of people and quantities of cargo moving across the boundaries separating biogeographic regions is not readily available. ...
Article
The distribution of terrestrial biodiversity within Antarctica is complex, with 16 distinct biogeographic regions (Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions) currently recognised within the Antarctic continent, Peninsula and Scotia Arc archipelagos of the Antarctic Treaty area. Much of this diversity is endemic not only to Antarctica as a whole, but to specific regions within it. Further complexity is added by inclusion of the biodiversity found on the islands located in the Southern Ocean north of the Treaty area. Within Antarctica, scientific, logistic and tourism activities may inadvertently move organisms over potentially long distances, far beyond natural dispersal ranges. Such translocation can disrupt natural species distribution patterns and biogeography through: (1) movement of spatially restricted indigenous species to other areas of Antarctica; (2) movement of distinct populations of more generally distributed species from one area of Antarctica to another, leading to genetic homogenisation and loss of assumed local patterns of adaptation; and (3) further dispersal of introduced non-native species from one area of Antarctica to another. Species can be moved between regions in association with people and cargo, by ship, aircraft and overland travel. Movement of cargo and personnel by ship between stations located in different biogeographic regions is likely to present one of the greatest risks, particularly as coastal stations may experience similar climatic conditions, making establishment more likely. Recognising that reducing the risk of inter-regional transfer of species is a priority issue for the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, we make practical recommendations aimed at reducing this risk, including the implementation of appropriate biosecurity procedures.
... Moreover, variation remains in the level of survey effort and knowledge among taxonomic groups (Convey et al. 2006b). Despite these impacts and improved biosecurity, non-native invertebrates continue to arrive and establish on SOI (Hughes et al. 2011;Houghton et al. 2016;Phillips et al. 2017). Invasions are expected to increase as the climate warms (Chown et al. 2008;Chown and Convey 2016). ...
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Isolation and climate have protected Southern Ocean Islands from non-native species. Relatively recent introductions have had wide-ranging, sometimes devastating, impacts across a range of species and ecosystems, including invertebrates, which are the main terrestrial fauna. In our comprehensive review, we found that despite the high abundance of non-native plants across the region, their impacts on native invertebrates are not well-studied and remain largely unknown. We highlight that non-native invertebrates are numerous and continue to arrive. Their impacts are multi-directional, including changing nutrient cycling regimes, establishing new functional guilds, out-competing native species, and mutually assisting spread of other non-native species. Non-native herbivorous and omnivorous vertebrates have caused declines in invertebrate habitat, but data that quantifies implications for invertebrates are rare. Predatory mammals not only indirectly effect invertebrates through predation of ecosystem engineers such as seabirds, but also directly shape community assemblages through invertebrate diet preferences and size-selective feeding. We found that research bias is not only skewed towards investigating impacts of mice, but is also focused more intensely on some islands, such as Marion Island, and towards some taxa, such as beetles and moths. The results of our review support and build on previous assessments of non-native species in the Antarctic region—that the responses of invertebrate fauna on these islands are under-reported and often poorly understood. Given the importance of invertebrates as indicators of environmental change, and their potential utility in quantifying change associated with island restoration projects (such as eradications), these knowledge gaps need to be urgently addressed.
... Since the early 2000s concern has grown over biosecurity measures in place for Antarctica, particularly for terrestrial environments (Chown et al., 2012;Hughes & Convey, 2010Hughes & Frenot, 2015;Hughes et al., 2011;Lewis et al., 2003;McGeoch et al., 2015), and a decision-making process for dealing with suspected introduced species has been formulated (Hughes & Convey, 2012). ...
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Antarctica is experiencing significant ecological and environmental change, which may facilitate the establishment of non‐native marine species. Non‐native marine species will interact with other anthropogenic stressors affecting Antarctic ecosystems, such as climate change (warming, ocean acidification) and pollution, with irreversible ramifications for biodiversity and ecosystem services. We review current knowledge of non‐native marine species in the Antarctic region, the physical and physiological factors that resist establishment of non‐native marine species, changes to resistance under climate change, the role of legislation in limiting marine introductions, and the effect of increasing human activity on vectors and pathways of introduction. Evidence of non‐native marine species is limited: just four marine non‐native and one cryptogenic species that were likely introduced anthropogenically have been reported freely living in Antarctic or sub‐Antarctic waters, but no established populations have been reported; an additional six species have been observed in pathways to Antarctica that are potentially at risk of becoming invasive. We present estimates of the intensity of ship activity across fishing, tourism and research sectors: there may be approximately 180 vessels and 500+ voyages in Antarctic waters annually. However, these estimates are necessarily speculative because relevant data are scarce. To facilitate well‐informed policy and management, we make recommendations for future research into the likelihood of marine biological invasions in the Antarctic region.
... Fresh food importation can also transport non-native species, including invertebrates and microbial plant and animal pathogens, on the produce or in associated soil or packaging (Hughes, Cowan, & Wilmotte, 2015;Hughes et al., 2011;Roy et al., 2016). Furthermore, Antarctic hydroponic systems may become infested with non-native microorganisms and invertebrates, which present a risk to local environments should containment measures fail (Bergstrom et al., 2018;Volonterio et al., 2013). ...
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The Antarctic is considered to be a pristine environment relative to other regions of the Earth, but it is increasingly vulnerable to invasions by marine, freshwater and terrestrial non-native species. The Antarctic Peninsula region (APR), which encompasses the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands and South Orkney Islands, is by far the most invaded part of the Antarctica continent. The risk of introduction of invasive non-native species to the APR is likely to increase with predicted increases in the intensity, diversity and distribution of human activities. Parties that are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty have called for regional assessments of non-native species risk. In response, taxonomic and Antarctic experts undertook a horizon scanning exercise using expert opinion and consensus approaches to identify the species that are likely to present the highest risk to biodiversity and ecosystems within the APR over the next 10 years. One hundred and three species, currently absent in the APR, were identified as relevant for review, with 13 species identified as presenting a high risk of invading the APR. Marine invertebrates dominated the list of highest risk species, with flowering plants and terrestrial invertebrates also represented; however, vertebrate species were thought unlikely to establish in the APR within the 10 year timeframe. We recommend (a) the further development and application of biosecurity measures by all stakeholders active in the APR, including surveillance for species such as those identified during this horizon scanning exercise, and (b) use of this methodology across the other regions of Antarctica. Without the application of appropriate biosecurity measures, rates of introductions and invasions within the APR are likely to increase, resulting in negative consequences for the biodiversity of the whole continent, as introduced species establish and spread further due to climate change and increasing human activity.
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The result of a three-year devoted work based on a couple decades of Antarctic research, this 368-page edition is an encyclopedic narrative of the principal topics related to Antarctica – nature, history, sovereignty and politics, Antarctic science, resources, fisheries, tourism and Antarctic names, naturally not forgetting Bulgarian participation. The book includes an extensive bibliography (with most of the items available online), and is amply illustrated with over one hundred photographs, old and new maps and paintings, some of them unique. Lyubomir Ivanov is a polar explorer, founding chair of the Bulgarian Antarctic Place-names Commission, and national representative of Bulgaria to the international Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information (SCAGI). Nusha Ivanova has participated in four Antarctic expeditions, and was the first Bulgarian school student to visit Antarctica. A second, revised and expanded (electronic) edition of the book was published on 26 September 2014, ISBN 978-619-90008-2-3
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Poa annua is the only flowering plant species that has established a breeding population in the maritime Antarctic, through repeated anthropogenic introduction. The first appearance of this species in the Antarctic was observed in 1953. Annual bluegrass inhabits mainly anthropogenic sites, but recently has entered tundra communities. The functioning of P. annua in the Antarctic could not have been possible without adaptations that enable the plants to persist in the specific climatic conditions typical for this zone. Poa annua is highly adaptable to environmental stress and unstable habitats: huge phenotypic and genotypic variability, small size, plastic life cycle (life-history types ranging from annual to perennial forms). The spreading of P. annua in the Antarctic Peninsula region is a classic example of the expansion process following anthropogenic introduction of an invasive species, and illustrates the dangers to Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems that are associated with increasing human traffic
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Distinguishing between species that are recent natural colonists, recent anthropogenic introductions, or previously unknown, but long-term resident native species, is a challenge for those who manage the conservation of the Antarctic region. Here, we report the discovery of two new arthropod species on sub-Antarctic Marion Island—Nabis capsiformis Germar (Heteroptera: Nabidae) and Tetragnatha sp. (Araneomorphae: Tetragnathidae). On the basis of their habitat use, dispersal abilities, historic biodiversity survey records, and limited information on genetic diversity, we conclude that the colonization events were natural.
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Filamentous fungi relatively easily disperse and colonize a variety of substrates, inhabiting various, often extreme environments. Therefore, they spread all over the world. The purpose of the research was to determine whether the propagules of filamentous fungi brought (accidentally transported) into the Antarctic biome by tourists and members of scientific expeditions are capable of developing at low temperatures. In the studies were used seven isolates of fungi: Penicillium sp., Aspergillus flavus, Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Trichoderma viride, Geotrichum candidum and Botrytis cinerea. The isolates came from samples collected from tourists and members of scientific expeditions arriving at the Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station on King George Island in the South Shetland archipelago. Fungal growth was measured at 0, 5, 10, 22°C (as a control) and 10° C, but after having frozen inoculum at -15°C for a period of 7 days. Penicillium sp., Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Trichoderma viride, Geotrichum candidum and Botrytis cinerea were found to be capable of growing at low temperatures (5 and 10oC as well as after one freezing cycle, down to -15oC and thawing, up to +10oC). They did not produce a macroscopically visible mycelium at temp. 0oC, however, it was not a lethal temperature for them, as when they were transferred to higher temperatures, they continued to develop even after a fairly long time following the beginning of the experiment. The most vulnerable was Aspergillus flavus. At lower temperatures (from about to 5oC) it did not develop, while freezing and thawing were lethal for this species. Some species (G. candidum, T. viride and B. cinerea), despite the development of mycelium, did not produce spores at lower temperatures.
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Biological invasions are a growing problem worldwide. In 2004, the South African Department of Science and Technology, through the National Research Foundation, established a Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, with the primary goal of providing scientific understanding and building capacity in the field of biological invasions. South Africa is an extraordinary natural laboratory for the study of biological invasions, and the Centre for Invasion Biology (C center dot I center dot B) has capitalised on this situation. During its first decade, the C center dot I center dot B generated over 800 publications, and produced almost 200 graduates at honours, master's and doctoral levels. The C center dot I center dot B has therefore made a considerable contribution to building human capacity in the field of biological invasions. Substantial advances have been made in all aspects of invasion science, which is not limited to biology and ecology, but includes history, sociology, economics and management. The knowledge generated by the C center dot I center dot B has been used to inform policy and improve management practices at national and local levels. The C center dot I center dot B has emerged as a leading institute in the global field of invasion biology, with several unique features that differentiate it from similar research institutes elsewhere. These features include a broad research focus that embraces environmental, social and economic facets, leading to a diverse research programme that has produced many integrated products; an extensive network of researchers with diverse interests, spread over a wide geographical range; and the production of policy- and management-relevant research products arising from the engaged nature of research conducted by the C center dot I center dot B.
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Antarctica's status as a unparalleled place of international scientific collaboration was entrenched in the Antarctic Treaty 1959, and its designation as a "natural reserve, devoted to peace and science" formally referenced in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (PEPAT) 1991 (PEPAT 1991, Article 2). The continent's importance for maintenance of the global ecosphere has more recently been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Anisimov et al., 2007). However, the expanded scale and scope of commercial tourism in Antarctica over the last quarter century raises issues about whether the laissez-faire approach to tourism management that has been taken under the auspices of Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) governance is sufficient to protect the Antarctic environment and its "wilderness" values from the negative impacts of tourism (PEPAT, Article 3(1)). This is an subject that has occupied a number of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs), who form the decision-making group within the ATS, and resulted in a recent question by The Netherlands to fellow ATCPs as to whether "a system of obligatory or voluntary payments by individual tourists or tourist organizations (as a payment for 'ecosystem services')?" should be established within the ATS (The Netherlands, ATCM XI, 2012).This paper considers the Dutch question about payment for ecosystem services in Antarctica as a potential tourism regulatory tool. It also examines the legal and related political issues that a proposal for introduction of ecosystem services would generate in an area of the earth which, de facto, is treated as an international commons, but is also the site of continuing contestation and challenge over abeyant claims to sovereignty by seven states within the ATCP group. Issues canvassed in this context include: the different political-philosophical approaches to tourism and the environment evinced by the ATCPs; the limited number of states signatory to the Treaty and the increase in non-state actor activity in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, and concomitant difficulties of monitoring and compliance in a geographically expansive and remote area of the earth; and the potential of ecosystem services in Antarctica to help realise some of the United Nations' post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
Article
Antarctic terrestrial habitats are vulnerable to impacts resulting from global and local human activities. Global activities have resulted in climate change affecting parts of Antarctica, stratospheric ozone depletion over the continent and dispersal of pollutants to the poles. Local impacts were initiated with the first arrival of humans on the continent in the early twentieth century, but became more widespread with an increase in human activity and footprint from the 1950s onward. Currently, over 30 nations are active in scientific research in the region, more than two million tourist landings have been made, and human visitation is unlikely to decrease. Terrestrial communities are vulnerable to damage or destruction caused by construction projects, vehicle movements and human trampling. Soils have become contaminated with chemicals leaching from waste dumps, and past and current fuel spills have lead to hydrocarbon pollution, particularly near research stations. Terrestrial ecosystems are also under threat from non-native plants, animals and microorganisms introduced inadvertently by historic industries, national operators and the tourism industry. The 'Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty' sets out minimum standards of environmental practice for Parties operating in Antarctica. The legislation has gone some way in reducing local environmental impacts, but there is clear evidence that the rigour with which it is applied is not consistent within the continent.
Chapter
Globally, many thousands of species have been redistributed beyond their natural dispersal ranges as a result of human activities. The introduction of non-native species can have severe consequences for indigenous biota with changes in both ecosystem structure and function. The Antarctic region has not escaped this threat. The introduction of invasive species, including vertebrates, invertebrates and plants, has altered substantially the ecosystems of many sub-Antarctic islands. In contrast, the Antarctic continent itself currently has few confirmed non-native species, but numbers are increasing. Possible future increases in human presence in the region, either through tourism, governmental operators or other commercial activities, will increase the risk of further non-native species introductions, while climate change may enhance the likelihood of establishment and range expansion. Ensuring effective biosecurity measures are implemented throughout the Antarctic region in a timely manner is an urgent challenge for the Antarctic Treaty nations and the Antarctic community as a whole.
Chapter
Unlike virtually any other area of land on the planet, the Antarctic continent is still largely un-impacted by the introduction of non-native species. Only a handful of non-native plants and animals (all invertebrates) are known, most from the northern Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Arc. While several are persistent, and slowly increasing in local distribution, none have yet become truly invasive. The same is not the case in many of the subantarctic islands, where two centuries or more of human occupation and exploitation have led to many both deliberate and accidental introductions, and to sometimes drastic and probably irreversible changes in ecosystems. Recent years have seen an upsurge in primary research documenting the presence and impacts of non-native species in Antarctica, and in applying this information to the governance mechanisms within the Antarctic Treaty area and those of the various subantarctic islands. Organisms arriving through human activities, today primarily in the form of governmental (science and support) and tourism operations, numerically far outweigh natural colonisation events to this very isolated continent. Added to this, current and in some areas very strong regional climate change trends act in synergy to increase both the numbers of potential colonists and their establishment probability. Continued and increasing human contact with the Antarctic region is inevitable, and this can never be entirely separated from the risk of new introductions. Practicable control and mitigation measures, based on high levels of awareness and robust monitoring, survey and response protocols, are therefore the primary mechanisms available to slow and control rates of introduction and establishment. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. All rights are reserved.
Chapter
Antarctic soils are vulnerable to disturbance due to their physical properties and naturally slow recovery rates that are suppressed by low temperatures and low availability of liquid moisture.
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The knowledge derived from Antarctic ecology may be fundamental to facing the complex environmental future of the world. As an early warning system, a deep understanding of Antarctic ecosystems is therefore needed, but Antarctic ecology as a field is still very young and currently under consolidation. Around the world, 55 nations are involved in this task through their research programs, and, considering the importance of this joint effort, we evaluate some basic trends of their publications through a wide bibliographical review of Antarctic ecology. All ecology-related Antarctic papers published for 106 years (1904–2010) were reviewed. A lack of population and ecosystem research was observed, even in Animalia, the most studied kingdom. The publications originated mainly in developed countries; however, emerging countries have increased their participation in recent years. The current trends of Antarctic ecology as a field show a constant but low representation in both Antarctic science and ecology.
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Worldwide, humans have access to a greater range of food plants than does any other species. Examination of phylogenetic patterns in plants consumed by animals has recently uncovered important ecological processes. The same techniques, however, have not been applied to our own species. Here we show that although humans tend to eat more species in certain families (e.g., Rosaceae) and fewer in others (e.g., Orchidaceae), the proportion of edible species in most families is similar to random expectations. Phylogenetic patterning in angiosperm edibility is also weak. We argue that the remarkable breadth of the human diet is the result of humans' huge geographic range, diverse food-collection methods, and ability to process normally inedible items. Humans are thus generalist feeders in the broadest sense. Cross-cultural analyses of diversity in the plant diet of humans could represent a fascinating new field of research linking ecology, anthropology, history, and sociology.
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Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems currently include very few non-native species, due to the continent’s extreme isolation from other landmasses. However, the indigenous biota is vulnerable to human-mediated introductions of non-native species. In December 2005, four construction vehicles were imported by contractors to the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Rothera Research Station (Antarctic Peninsula) from the Falkland Islands and South Georgia (South Atlantic) on board RRS James Clark Ross. The vehicles were contaminated with >132kg of non-Antarctic soil that contained viable non-native angiosperms, bryophytes, micro-invertebrates, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, and c. 40,000 seeds and numerous moss propagules. The incident was a significant contravention of BAS operating procedures, the UK Antarctic Act (1994) and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (1998), which all prohibit the introduction of non-native species to Antarctica without an appropriate permit. The introduction of this diverse range of species poses a significant threat to local biodiversity should any of the species become established, particularly as the biota of sub-Antarctic South Georgia is likely to include many species with appropriate pre-adaptations facilitating the colonisation of more extreme Antarctic environments. Once the incident was discovered, the imported soil was removed immediately from Antarctica and destroyed. Vehicle cleaning and transportation guidelines have been revised to enhance the biosecurity of BAS operations, and to minimise the risk of similar incidents occurring. KeywordsAntarctica-Cargo-Human impact-Invasion-Biosecurity-Non-native species-Sub-Antarctic-Vehicles
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that mean global warming was 0.6 0.2 C during the 20th century and cited anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases as the likely cause of temperature rise in the last 50 years. But this mean value conceals the substantial complexity of observed climate change, which is seasonally- and diurnally-biased, decadally-variable and geographically patchy. In particular, over the last 50 years three high-latitude areas have undergone recent rapid regional (RRR) warming, which was substantially more rapid than the global mean. However, each RRR warming occupies a different climatic regime and may have an entirely different underlying cause. We discuss the significance of RRR warming in one area, the Antarctic Peninsula. Here warming was much more rapid than in the rest of Antarctica where it was not significantly different to the global mean. We highlight climate proxies that appear to show that RRR warming on the Antarctic Peninsula is unprecedented over the last two millennia, and so unlikely to be a natural mode of variability. So while the station records do not indicate a ubiquitous polar amplification of global warming, the RRR warming on the Antarctic Peninsula might be a regional amplification of such warming. This, however, remains unproven since we cannot yet be sure what mechanism leads to such an amplification. We discuss several possible candidate mechanisms: changing oceanographic or changing atmospheric circulation, or a regional air-sea-ice feedback amplifying greenhouse warming. We can show that atmospheric warming and reduction in sea-ice duration coincide in a small area on the west of the Antarctic Peninsula, but here we cannot yet distinguish cause and effect. Thus for the present we cannot determine which process is the probable cause of RRR warming on the Antarctic Peninsula and until the mechanism initiating and sustaining the RRR warming is understood, and is convincingly reproduced in climate models, we lack a sound basis for predicting climate change in this region over the coming century.
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Over the past two decades seven non-indigenous vascular plant or arthropod species have established reproducing populations at sub-Antarctic Marion Island (46°54′S, 37°55′E). Here we record the eighth establishment, a braconid wasp Aphidius matricariae Haliday, which uses the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi (Linnaeus) as its only host on the island. Molecular markers (18S rDNA and mtCOI) support the conventional taxonomic identification and indicate that all individuals are characterized by a single haplotype. Surveys around the island show that adult abundance and the frequency of aphid parasitism are highest at Macaroni Bay on the east coast, and decline away from this region to low or zero values elsewhere on the coast. The South African research and supply vessel, the SA Agulhas, regularly anchors at Macaroni Bay, and Aphidius sp. have been collected from its galley hold. Current abundance structure, low haplotype diversity, and the operating procedures of the SA Agulhas all suggest that the parasitoid was introduced to the island by humans. Regular surveys indicate that this introduction took place between April 2001 and April 2003, the latter being the first month when this species was detected. The wasp’s establishment has significantly added to trophic complexity on the island. Low haplotype diversity suggests that propagule pressure is of little consequence for insect introductions. Rather, single or just a few individuals are probably sufficient for successful establishment.
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The level of polymorphism, genetic variability and relatedness of a population of Poa annua L. from South Shetlands Islands was studied and compared with results obtained for populations from two potential sources of introduction (Argentina—Ushuaia and Poland—Dziekanów Leśny) using the amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) approach. Five primer pairs used for AFLP profiling amplified 226 scoreable DNA fragments that were used for Clustral and Factorial analyses. The level of molecular variability among all individuals from all the analysed populations reaches 30%. Clustral and Factorial analyses show that all populations formed clear-cut uniform groups according to their locations. However, population from King George Island show high variability. High genetic diversity may be related with escalated human activity at the area of Arctowski Station, favouring introductions of P. annua from many different sources and by many different vectors.
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The populations of two non-native Dipterans have been established at two Antarctic research stations since at least 1998. Both belong to Sciaridae (black fungus midge), and have been determined to the genus Lycoriella. At Rothera Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula, flies are present in the station alcohol bond store, while at Casey Station, on the coast of continental Antarctica, a second Lycoriella sp. is found breeding in the station sewage facilities. Neither species is thought capable of surviving outside the protected environment of the research station buildings, but their establishment highlights the need for strict quarantine controls in order for National Operators in the Antarctic to conform to the Environmental Protocol of the Antarctic Treaty and prevent the introduction of alien species into Antarctica. Protocols for fly eradication are currently being implemented.
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The Antarctic continent harbors a range of specialized and sometimes highly localized microbial biotopes. These include biotopes associated with desiccated mineral soils, rich ornithogenic soils, glacial and sea ice, ice-covered lakes, translucent rocks, and geothermally heated soils. All are characterized by the imposition of one or more environmental extremes (including low temperature, wide temperature fluctuations, desiccation, hypersalinity, high periodic radiation fluxes, and low nutrient status). As our understanding of the true microbial diversity in these biotopes expands from the application of molecular phylogenetic methods, we come closer to the point where we can make an accurate assessment of the impacts of environmental change, human intervention, and other natural and unnatural impositions. At present, it is possible to make reasonable predictions about the physical effects of local climate change, but only general predictions on possible changes in microbial community structure. The consequences of some direct human impacts, such as physical disruption of microbial soil communities, are obvious if not yet quantitated. Others, such as the dissemination of nonindigenous microorganisms into indigenous microbial communities, are not yet understood.
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Assessments of Antarctic temperature change have emphasized the contrast between strong warming of the Antarctic Peninsula and slight cooling of the Antarctic continental interior in recent decades. This pattern of temperature change has been attributed to the increased strength of the circumpolar westerlies, largely in response to changes in stratospheric ozone. This picture, however, is substantially incomplete owing to the sparseness and short duration of the observations. Here we show that significant warming extends well beyond the Antarctic Peninsula to cover most of West Antarctica, an area of warming much larger than previously reported. West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1 degrees C per decade over the past 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring. Although this is partly offset by autumn cooling in East Antarctica, the continent-wide average near-surface temperature trend is positive. Simulations using a general circulation model reproduce the essential features of the spatial pattern and the long-term trend, and we suggest that neither can be attributed directly to increases in the strength of the westerlies. Instead, regional changes in atmospheric circulation and associated changes in sea surface temperature and sea ice are required to explain the enhanced warming in West Antarctica.
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ABSTRACT To better understand the genetic relationships between Verticillium dahliae isolates from lettuce and other phytopathogenic Verticillium spp. isolates from various hosts and geographic locations, the complete intergenic spacer (IGS) region of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) and the beta-tubulin gene were amplified and sequenced. The sequences of the complete IGS region and the beta-tubulin gene were used alone and in combination to infer genetic relationships among different isolates of Verticillium with the maximum-likelihood distance method. Phylogenetic analyses set sequences into four distinct groups comprising isolates of V. albo-atrum, V. tricorpus, and V. dahliae from cruciferous and noncruciferous hosts. Within the four Verticillium groups, isolates of V. dahliae from cruciferous hosts displayed the closest affinity to V. dahliae from noncruciferous hosts. Isolates of V. dahliae from noncruciferous hosts could be further divided into four subgroups based on sequence similarities within the IGS region. Cross-pathogenicity tests demonstrated that most Verticillium isolates were as virulent on other hosts as on their hosts of origin. A phenogram based on the cross pathogenicity of individual isolates resembled those derived from the IGS and beta-tubulin sequence comparisons. On the basis of the data presented, the potential origin of some isolates of V. dahliae pathogenic on lettuce is proposed.
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