Antarctica under threat

Climate change will impose a complex web of threats and interactions on the plants and animals living in the ice-free areas of Antarctica.

Increased temperatures may promote growth and reproduction, but may also contribute to drought and associated effects. These scenarios are explored in a new book, Trends in Antarctic Terrestrial and Limnetic Ecosystems: Antarctica as a Global Indicator, co-edited by Australian Antarctic Division biologist, Dr. Dana Bergstrom.

The book concludes that Antarctica is not specifically different from other continents, just extremely isolated and at the end of the spectrum of planetary conditions. But among future scenarios is invasion by more competitive alien species, carried there by humans seeking a place of unspoilt wilderness or chasing scientific knowledge.

Antarctica is one of the only places on Earth where natural biological phenomena can be studied in their pristine state, but human visitation risks breaking its isolation, and seriously threatens Antarctica’s unique legacy.

For more information: Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre,

Dana Bergstrom,

Tel: +61 3 6232 3442,