The terrestrial invertebrate fauna of the Maritime Antarctic

During the period from 18 January to 31 M arch 1964 the author was able to visit certain islands on the Scotia Ridge and parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. Apart from South Georgia, all the areas lie within the Maritime Antarctic region (Holdgate 1964). At each locality an attempt was made to ascertain the composition of the meiofauna from as many terrestrial habitats as possible and, when time permitted, quantitative sampling was carried out. During the previous two years a similar but more detailed study was carried out at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, but the bulk of these data will be presented elsewhere. Figure 32 shows all the areas visited with the month and number of quantitative samples taken. It was only possible to spend a few hours at certain localities. The Maritime Antarctic is, by definition (Holdgate 1964), a region bounded by isotherms and supporting a limited but typical vegetation. The types of plant communities have already been discussed (Longton, this Discussion, p. 213) and it is clear that whilst a considerable amount of species and community variation exists there is a basic similarity throughout the region. This general uniformity of climate and vegetation would together appear to offer a similar set of terrestrial habitat conditions. If dispersal were not a limiting factor, one would also expect the invertebrate fauna of such habitats to exhibit a uniform pattern. In fact it does not.


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Authors: Tilbrook, P.J.

1 January, 1967
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences / 252
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