Polar Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 1703–1711 | Cite as

Influence of soil properties on the distribution of Deschampsia antarctica on King George Island, Maritime Antarctica

  • Jeong Soo Park
  • In-Young Ahn
  • Eun Ju LeeEmail author
Original Paper


The extremely cold and infertile Antarctic is one of the harshest terrestrial ecosystems for the growth of vegetation, except for the grass species Deschampsia antarctica. We examined the main soil variables that determine the distribution of D. antarctica in King George Island by using Bayesian analysis of variance and regression methods. This study compared the density of D. antarctica between 2 sites; the density remained relatively stable at site 1, whereas it severely decreased in site 2 over a period of 3 years. Although site 2 showed better soil conditions for the growth of D. antarctica such as organic matter content, available phosphorus, NO3-N, and extractable cations, its poor drainage and low soil pH may affected the survival of D. antarctica by altering nutrition availability and inhibiting root respiration. Poisson analysis of covariance showed that the early melting of snow was also an important factor in the distribution of D. antarctica. The results also showed that seabirds and mammals might have greatly influenced the distribution of the grass species in King George Island by transferring nutrients from the sea onto land; thus, changing the chemical characteristics of the soil.


Deschampsia antarctica Soil properties Maritime Antarctic Bayesian inference Soil nutrients 



We are very grateful to all the staff of the King Sejong Station for their cooperation and hospitality. We thank Jeong-Hoon Kim for his valuable comments about the distribution of D. antarctica. We are grateful to Namyi Chae and Bang Yong Lee for providing the weather information. Finally, we thank Dr. Dieter Piepenburg and anonymous referees for their helpful comments. This research was supported by Korea Polar Research Institute (Grant No. PE10040). The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Korea Polar Research Institute, Songdo Techno ParkIncheonKorea

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