Polar Biology

, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 1125–1130 | Cite as

Impact of anthropogenic transportation to Antarctica on alien seed viability

  • K. A. Hughes
  • J. E. Lee
  • C. Ware
  • K. Kiefer
  • D. M. Bergstrom
Original Paper


Antarctic ecosystems are at risk from the introduction of invasive species. The first step in the process of invasion is the transportation of alien species to Antarctic in a viable state. However, the effect of long-distance human-mediated dispersal, over different timescales, on propagule viability is not well known. We assessed the viability of Poa trivialis seeds transported to Antarctica from the UK, South Africa and Australia by ship or by ship and aircraft. Following transportation to the Antarctic Treaty area, no reduction in seed viability was found, despite journey times lasting up to 284 days and seeds experiencing temperatures as low as −1.5°C. This work confirms that human-mediated transport may overcome the dispersal barrier for some propagules, and highlights the need for effective pre-departure biosecurity measures.


Invasion Antarctica Non-native Dispersal Transport Propagule 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Hughes
    • 1
  • J. E. Lee
    • 2
  • C. Ware
    • 3
    • 4
  • K. Kiefer
    • 3
    • 4
  • D. M. Bergstrom
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  3. 3.Australian Antarctic DivisionDepartment of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the ArtsKingston, TasmaniaAustralia
  4. 4.Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean StudiesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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