Geothermal environments in Antarctica have profound ecological and scientific value. They are single points of heat and moisture in an icy and dry landscape, and provide habitats for diverse living organisms, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. They may have provided refuges through repeated glacial cycles for diverse moss and invertebrate communities, crucially stabilizing populations in non-geothermal sites over long time periods. The unique features of these sites render them easily impacted, with physical damage and foreign biological contamination being the principal concerns. To address the need to manage activities that impact terrestrial geothermal environments in Antarctica, a Code of Conduct has been developed by SCAR and endorsed by Antarctic Treaty Parties.
Authors: Herbold, Craig, Cary, S. Craig, Connell, Laurie, Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey, Poirot, Ceisha