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Pathways of alien invertebrate transfer to the Antarctic region


Houghton, M and McQuillan, PB and Bergstrom, DM and Frost, L and van den Hoff, J and Shaw, J, Pathways of alien invertebrate transfer to the Antarctic region, Polar Biology, 39, (1) pp. 23-33. ISSN 0722-4060 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Springer-Verlag

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00300-014-1599-2


Alien species pose an increasing threat to the biodiversity of the Antarctic region. Several alien species have established in Antarctic terrestrial communities, some representing novel functional groups such as pollinators and predators, with unknown impacts on ecosystem processes. We quantified the unintentional introduction of alien invertebrates to the Antarctic region over a 14-year period (20002013). To do this, probable pathways (Australian Antarctic cargo operations) and endpoints (research stations) for invertebrate introductions were searched. In addition, we undertook a stratified trapping programme targeting invertebrates on supply vessels in transit to the Antarctic region and also at cargo facilities in Australia during the 20122013 austral summer field season. Our results show that a diverse suite of invertebrate taxa were being introduced to the Antarctic region, with 1,376 individuals from at least 98 families observed or trapped during the sampling period. Many individuals were found alive. Diptera, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera were the most common taxa, comprising 74 % of the collection. At the family level, Phoridae (small flies) and Noctuidae (moths) were most commonly observed. Individuals from 38 different families were repeatedly introduced over the study period, sometimes in high numbers. Food and large cargo containers harboured the most individuals. These findings can assist in improving biosecurity protocols for logistic activities to Antarctica, thereby reducing the risk of invasions to the Antarctic region.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biosecurity, invertebrates, Antarctica, Sub-Antarctica, alien species, quarantine, propagule pressure
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Houghton, M (Ms Melissa Houghton)
UTAS Author:McQuillan, PB (Mr Peter McQuillan)
ID Code:98382
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2015-02-13
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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