A recolonization record of the invasive Poa annua in Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsula: modeling of the potential spreading risk
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Antarctica is one of the most extreme environments for vascular plants occurrence worldwide, and only two native vascular plants have colonized this continent: Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Nevertheless, in recent years, several alien plant species has been found in Antarctica with negative effects on the native flora. In this study, we show a recolonization record of the most widespread plant invader in Antarctica (Poa annua) and the risk of a potential spreading in a highly visited site on the Antarctic Peninsula. Overall, two new P. annua individuals were recorded, where four specimens were previously reported and removed in 2010, suggesting that either a propagule load is continuous, or that a seed bank prevailed in the site. On the other hand, the spreading modeling suggests that the probability to colonize and spreading of P. annua increases notoriously with the possibility of dispersion of propagules, with consequent risk of displacement for the native flora. Biological invasions are a major threat to the integrity of native biodiversity in all biomes, and they have the potential to change irreversibly Antarctica’s fragile ecosystems.
KeywordsAntarctica Biodiversity Invasions Poa annua
This work was financed by the INACH (RT_11-13) project of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH). We thank Robert J. Soreng of Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, for helping us with the taxonomical determination of Poa annua.
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