Terrestrial non-native species in Antarctica: introduction, impact and management response
Non-native species introductions and establishment are having substantial and likely irreversible environmental impacts on Antarctic ecosystems and biodiversity. Non-native species, or species that live outside of their natural range, can spread inter-regionally (from outside the Antarctic) or intra-regionally (within the Antarctic). Inadvertent introductions may occur when propagules, such as seeds, soil, and invertebrate eggs, or whole organisms are transported to Antarctica. Transportation may occur in association with clothing and personal belongings of visitors, cargo, and fresh produce, transported to or within Antarctica by land vehicles, ships, or aircraft. Currently, the available data indicate that the Antarctic Peninsula region is the Antarctic Treaty area where most non-native species have been recorded. While Antarctic introductions are likely to increase, facilitated by climate change and increased human activity in the region, future rates of introduction and establishment could be reduced with the implementation of effective biosecurity mitigation and action. Despite some success in the eradication of non-native plants and insects inside buildings, some established invertebrate species have already begun to increase their distribution within Antarctica with largely unknown impacts upon native organisms and habitats.
Authors: Hughes, Kevin A. ORCID record for Kevin A. Hughes, Chwedorzewska, Katarzyna J., Molina Montenegro, Marco A., Pertierra, Luis R.