How committed are we to monitoring human impacts in Antarctica?
Under the Antarctic Treaty System, environmental monitoring is a legal obligation for signatory nations and an essential tool for managers attempting to minimize local human impacts, but is it given the importance it merits? Antarctica is a vast frozen continent with an area around 1.5 times that of Europe (14 000 000 km2), but the majority of its terrestrial life is found on multiple outcrops or 'islands' of ice-free coastal ground, with a combined area of ~6000 km2, equivalent to four times that of Greater London (Tin et al 2009). The biological communities of these ice-free terrestrial habitats are dominated by a small number of biological groups, primarily mosses, lichens, microinvertebrates and microorganisms. They include many endemic species, while birds and marine mammals use coastal areas as breeding sites (Chown and Convey 2007).
Authors: Hughes, Kevin ORCID record for Kevin Hughes