Global movement and homogenisation of biota: challenges to the environmental management of Antarctica
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.
Authors: Hughes, Kevin A., Convey, Peter, Huiskes, Ad. H.L.
Editors: Tin, Tina, Liggett, Daniela, Maher, Patrick T., Larmers, Machiel