Biotic interactions in Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems: are they a factor?
Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems are noted for their relative simplicity and limited trophic structure. In this context, knowledge of biotic interactions in structuring terrestrial soil communities would seem beneficial from a theoretical perspective as well as from a conservation perspective. Unfortunately, although biotic interactions are generally seen as being insignificant in these unique ecosystems, this view is based upon few explicit studies and very little is known of the role that biotic interactions may play. Accordingly, we review our current understanding of these interactions, including analogues from other appropriate ecosystems. On the basis of this review, we conclude that: (1) Antarctic terrestrial systems are predominantly abiotically-driven systems; and (2) a network of manipulative field and laboratory experiments are needed for establishing any role for biotic interactions in structuring Antarctic soil environments.
Authors: Hogg, Ian D., Cary, S. Craig, Convey, Pete, Newsham, Kevin K., O'Donnell, Anthony G., Adams, Byron J., Aislabie, Jackie, Frati, Francesco, Stevens, Mark I., Wall, Diana H.