e360 digest


06 Mar 2012: Humans Carrying Seeds
Pose Threat to Antarctic Native Plants

The tens of thousands of tourists, scientists, and support personnel who visit Antarctica every year are carrying with them large numbers of seeds from alien plants that could one day pose a threat to Antarctica’s limited array of native plant species. A team of scientists vacuumed the clothes and luggage of 850 visitors to Antarctica during the 2007-2008 summer season, finding more than 2,600 stowaway seeds from other regions of the world, including the Arctic and the Alps. That season, 33,000 tourists and 7,000 scientists and support personnel visited Antarctica, carrying with them an estimated 70,000 seeds, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Antarctic continent only has two native species of vascular plants — a hair grass and a pearl wort — and so far scientists on the continent have discovered no alien plant species that have taken hold there. The study noted, however, that invasive plant species such as dandelions have taken root on some sub-Antarctic islands, and that as Antarctica continues to warm, alien plant species could eventually begin growing on the continent proper.

Email      Recommend     Tweet     Stumble Upon     Digg     Share    


Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter

CONNECT

Twitter: YaleE360
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Bookmark
Share e360
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
rss


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

e360 PHOTO GALLERY

“Peter
Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places.
View the gallery.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 VIDEO

Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Watch the video.


header image
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland. © Google & TerraMetrics.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado River Video
In a Yale Environment 360 video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.

OF INTEREST



Yale