Advertisement

Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 1–5 | Cite as

Fuegian plants in Antarctica: natural or anthropogenically assisted immigrants?

  • Ronald I. Lewis Smith
  • Michael Richardson
Invasion Note

Abstract

Two species of flowering plant of Fuegian montane provenance have been discovered on Deception Island in the maritime Antarctic, 950 km south of South America. Four individuals of Nassauvia magellanica and one of Gamochaeta nivalis (both Asteraceae) are growing robustly and in close proximity of each other on dry ash and scoria soil near a ruined whaling station which, in recent years, has been frequently visited by large numbers of ship-borne tourists. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and the Management Plan for the island, designated an Antarctic Specially Managed Area, provide strict regulations for the conduct of visitors to this site and precautions against the accidental introduction of non-indigenous species. While their establishment on this remote volcanic island may have been anthropogenically mediated, natural immigration cannot be ruled out as both species produce seed adapted for wind-dispersal in their native Tierra del Fuego. The ecological consequences if one or both of these aliens spreads beyond their present restricted location are considered. While determined efforts are being made to implement rigorous biosecurity measures in Antarctica, current Antarctic Treaty policy on dealing with colonizing invasive alien species is indecisive and requires urgent action and clear recommendations.

Keywords

Nassauvia magellanica Gamochaeta nivalis Alien or natural immigrant Biosecurity Deception Island Antarctica 

Notes

Acknowledgments

M.R. wishes to thank Quark Expeditions for the opportunity to travel to Antarctica as Ornithologist on board their ships during the 2008–2009 austral summer. We are also indebted to Drs. Rod Downie, Peter Convey and Kevin Hughes, British Antarctic Survey, and to two anonymous referees for reviewing and improving the text.

References

  1. Anon (2007) International polar year aliens in Antarctica project. http://www.scar.org/treaty/atcmxxx/Atcm30_ip049_e.pdf
  2. Birkenmajer K, Ochyra R, Olsson IU, Stuchlik L (1985) Mid-Holocene radiocarbon-dated peat at Admiralty Bay, King George Island, (South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica). Bull Pol Acad Sci Earth Sci 33:7–13Google Scholar
  3. Block W, Lewis Smith RI, Kennedy AD (2009) Strategies of survival and resource exploitation in the Antarctic fellfield ecosystem. Biol Rev 84:449–484CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Chwedorzewska KJ (2008) Poa annua L. in Antarctic: searching for the source of introduction. Polar Biol 31:263–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Convey P (2001) Terrestrial ecosystems response to climate changes in the Antarctic. In: Walther G-R, Burga CA, Edwards PJ (eds) “Fingerprints” of climate change—adapted behaviour and shifting species ranges. Kluwer, New York, pp 17–42Google Scholar
  6. Convey P (2003) Maritime Antarctic climate change: signals from terrestrial biology. In: Domack E, Laventer A, Burnett A, Bindschadler R, Convey P, Kirby M (eds) Antarctic Peninsula climate variability. Historical and paleoenvironmental perspectives. Ant Res Ser, vol 79, pp 145–158. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. Convey P (2008) Non-native species in Antarctic terrestrial and freshwater environments: presence, sources, impacts and predictions. In: Rogan-Finnemore M (ed) Non-native species in the Antarctic. Proceedings. Gateway Antarctica, Christchurch, pp 97–130Google Scholar
  8. Convey P, Lewis Smith RI (2006) Responses of terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems to climate change. Plant Ecol 182:1–10Google Scholar
  9. Convey P, Frenot Y, Gremmen N, Bergstrom D (2006) Biological invasions. In: Bergstrom DB, Convey P, Huiskes AHL (eds) Trends in Antarctic terrestrial and limnetic ecosystems: Antarctica as a global indicator. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 193–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Convey P, Barnes DKA, Clark MS, Dominic A, Hodgson DA, Peck LS (2007) An holistic approach to understanding the biological impacts of climate change: Antarctica as a planetary warning system. Inside Agric 2:16–39Google Scholar
  11. Fowbert JA, Lewis Smith RI (1994) Rapid population increases in native vascular plants in the Argentine Islands, Antarctic Peninsula. Arct Alp Res 26:290–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frenot Y, Chown SL, Whinam J, Selkirk P, Convey P, Skotnicki M, Bergstrom D (2005) Biological invasions in the Antarctic: extent, impacts and implications. Biol Rev 80:45–72CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Frenot Y, Convey P, Lebouvier M, Chown SL, Whinam J, Selkirk PM, Skotnicki M, Bergstrom DM (2008). In: Rogan-Finnemore M (ed) Non-native species in the Antarctic. Proceedings. Gateway Antarctica, Christchurch, pp 53–96Google Scholar
  14. Hughes KA, Convey P (2009) The protection of Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems from inter- and intra-continental transfer of non-indigenous species by human activities: a review of current systems and practices. Glob Env Change. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.09.005
  15. Hughes KA, Convey P, Maslen NR, Lewis Smith RI (2009) Accidental transfer of non-native soil organisms into Antarctica on construction vehicles. Biol Invasions 12:875–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. IAATO (2008) Tourism statistics (2007–2008). Whalers Bay, Deception Island. www.IAATO.org
  17. Lewis Smith RI (1984) Colonization and recovery by cryptogams following recent volcanic activity on Deception Island, South Shetland Islands. Br Antarct Surv Bull 62:25–51Google Scholar
  18. Lewis Smith RI (1994) Vascular plants as indicators of climate change in the Antarctic. Oecologia 99:322–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewis Smith RI (1996) Introduced plants in Antarctica: potential impacts and conservation issues. Biol Conserv 76:135–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lewis Smith RI (2003) The enigma of Colobanthus quitensis and Deschampsia antarctica in Antarctica. In: Huiskes AHL, Gieskes WWC, Rozema J, Schorno RML, van der Vies SM, Wolff WJ (eds) Antarctic biology in a global context. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, pp 234–239Google Scholar
  21. Lewis Smith RI (2005) The thermophilic bryoflora of Deception Island: unique plant communities as a criterion for designating an Antarctic specially protected area. Antarct Sci 17:17–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mansfield B, Gilbert N (2008) Availability and applicability of legal tools for managing non-native species. In: Rogan-Finnemore (ed) Non-native species in the Antarctic—Proceedings. Gateway Antarctica, Christchurch, pp 131–164Google Scholar
  23. Moore DM (1970) Studies in Colobanthus quitensis (Kunth) Bartl. and Deschampsia antarctica Desv. II. Taxonomy, distribution and relationships. Br Antarct Surv Bull 23:63–80Google Scholar
  24. Moore DM (1983) Flora of Tierra del Fuego. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, p 396Google Scholar
  25. Olech M (1996) Human impact on terrestrial ecosystems in west Antarctica. Proc NIPR Symp Polar Biol 9:299–306Google Scholar
  26. Parnikoza I, Convey P, Dykyy I, Trokhymets V, Milinevsky G, Tyschenko O, Inozemtseva D, Kozeretska I (2009) Current status of the Antarctic herb tundra formation in the Central Argentine Islands. Glob Change Biol 15:1685–1693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pauchard A et al (2009) Ain’t no mountain high enough: plant invasions reaching new elevations. Front Ecol Environ 7:479–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Peter H-U, Buesser C, Mustafa O, Pfeiffer S (2008) Risk assessment for the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island, and development of management plans for their designation as specially protected or specially managed areas. Environmental Research of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Research Report 203 13 124, UBA-FB 001155e:1–508. Federal Environment Agency, Dessau-Roßlau http://www.umweltdaten.de/publikationen/fpdf-1/3478.pdf
  29. Richardson DM, Pyšek P, Rejmánek M, Barbour MG, Panetta FD, West CJ (2000) Naturalization and invasion of alien plants: concepts and definitions. Divers Distrib 6:93–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smellie JL, López-Martínez J, Headland RK, Hernández-Cifuentes F, Maestro A, Millar IL, Rey J, Serrano E, Somoza L, Thomson JW (2002) Geology and geomorphology of Deception Island. BAS GEOMAP Ser 1-78. British Antarctic Survey, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  31. Tin T, Fleming ZL, Hughes KA, Ainley DG, Convey P, Moreno CA, Pfeiffer S, Scott J, Snape I (2009) Impacts of local human activities on the Antarctic environment. Ant Sci 21:3–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Turner J, Colwell SR, Marshall GJ, Lachlan-Cope TA, Carleton AM, Jones PD, Lagun V, Reid PA, Iagovkina S (2005) Antarctic climate change during the last 50 years. Int J Clim 25:279–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Vaughan DG, Marshall GJ, Connolley WM, Parkinson C, Mulvaney R, Hodgson DA, King JC, Pudsey CJ, Turner J (2003) Recent rapid regional climate warming on the Antarctic Peninsula. Clim Change 60:243–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Walther G-R, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebe TJC, Fromentin J-M, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Bairlein F (2002) Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416:389–395CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Walther G-R et al (2009) Alien species in a warmer world: risks and opportunities. TREE 24:686–693PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Antarctic Plant Ecology and DiversityDumfriesshireScotland, UK
  2. 2.BrightonCanada

Personalised recommendations