Metadata record for data expected from ASAC Project 2904|
See the link below for public details on this project.
International Polar Year (IPY) Aliens in Antarctica will assess the threat of humans carrying non-native seeds and spores into Antarctica. We will identify routes of transport and attempt to calculate how many seeds and spores are transported each year. Our data will be used to develop techniques to mitigate this threat and hence protect Antarctica.
The impact of non-native (alien) species on ecosystems is one of the big issues of the 21st Century. Antarctica is not immune to this problem with some alien species having established on the Antarctic continent and on most sub-Antarctic islands. The impacts of alien species can include substantial loss of biodiversity and damage to ecosystem processes. Such impacts will be exacerbated by the rapid climate change, now being experienced in parts of Antarctica.
Surrounded by the vast Southern Ocean, Antarctica's protective isolation is being chipped away by the movement of people and cargo to the region by national programs and the now booming tourist industry. Over 40,000 people travel to the Antarctic each year. This international project will assess the pathways of propagule (seeds, eggs, spores etc) transfer, the extent to which people from many nations, unintentionally carry propagules of alien species into the Antarctic region and the size of the threat. It will lead to the creation of appropriate mitigation methods by the Antarctic Treaty to protect the fragile Antarctic ecosystem. Furthermore, the project will provide valuable insight into the movement of alien propagules worldwide. It has been estimated that by 2010, the number of tourists crossing international boarders globally each year, will be around 1 billion people.
The travel histories of some 15,000 Antarctic tourists and researchers will be complied, assisted by the cooperation of four tourist operators, 15 supply vessels of national Antarctic programmes, and six air operators. One thousand items of cargo from 7 National Antarctic programmes will be inspected for propagules of alien species. The study has the full support from the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, and researchers from seven nations.
Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report:
Progress against objectives:
Considerable progress has been made on all objectives. All samples of propagules (greater than 1000 samples from over 50 voyages and examination of cargo/ food/ building material from 5 nations) have been sorted and propagules extracted. The majority of these propagules have been photographed and where possible identified. Analysis of the data is currently underway.
Taken from the 2009-2010 Progress Report:
Progress against objectives:
The International Polar Year project is examining the type and amount of 'propagules' (seed, spores and eggs) that are unintentionally imported into the region on clothes, shoes or hand luggage, as well as how many propagules are likely to be deposited and whether they will germinate and grow. Cargo, fresh food and travellers' gear destined for Antarctica were inspected during the first season of IPY and are now currently being analysed. Considerable progress on the quantifiaction of the threat of alien species to Antarctic ecosystems has been made. Results of our analysies will be presented at ATCM 33.