Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Seeds inadvertently hitching rides to Antarctica
As many as 20% of all visitors to the Antarctic continent are unknowingly carrying seeds from other parts of the world to the frozen tundra. This (can) greatly effect(s) Antarctica's native species* and is a testament "the impressive traveling abilities of plants"
From Pop Sci:
Researchers led by Steven Chown of Stellenbosch University in South Africa vacuumed the clothing, shoes, camera bags and walking poles of 853 Antarctic visitors during the International Polar Year in 2007-2008. They figure that represented about 2 percent of the continent’s visitors that year.
The team found 2,686 seeds on these people, a group that included both scientists and tourists. The researchers extrapolate this to mean that 31,732 seeds entered the Antarctic on tourists, and 38,897 seeds entered on scientists during the ﬁrst summer of the International Polar Year. Scientists were by far worse offenders, bringing twice as many seeds as individual tourists, but tourists still greatly outnumber science-related visitors.
Source link -> http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-03/stowaway-seeds-carried-unwitting-humans-are-colonizing-antarctica
*Which is rarely a good thing
Earlier invasive species related blog posts: http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2012/02/pythons-wiping-out-native-species-in.html & http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2011/06/non-native-species-beneficial.html & http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2011/04/sharks-being-taught-to-eat-non-native.html
Antarctica links: http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2012/02/they-reached-ice.html & http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2012/02/really-old-ice_16.html & http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2011/09/follow-happy-feet-on-his-way-back-to.html