Natural and anthropogenic hydrocarbons in the Antarctic marine environment
The Antarctic marine environment contains a range of hydrocarbons at low concentrations, which are generally biogenic in origin. All major classes of hydrocarbons have been found in the Antarctic ecosystem. At present, anthropogenic input is very low and difficult to resolve from background levels. Pollution in the Antarctic is limited to only a few sources and although contamination can be locally chronic it is very restricted in extent. To date there have been few studies of hydrocarbon pollution and those available have been patchy in spatial coverage and generally lack time-series data. The low levels of natural hydrocarbons and restricted human activity make the Antarctic ecosystem suitable as an indicator of global hydrocarbon pollution.