Navigation Links
The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic

A century ago, the South Pole was one of Earth's last frontiers, but now the Antarctic is under threat from human activity.

Led by Monash University's Professor Steven Chown, a multidisciplinary team of experts from around the globe has set out the current and future conservation challenges facing the Antarctic in a Policy Forum article published today in Science.

The team analysed the effectiveness of the existing Antarctic Treaty System for protecting the region, one of the world's largest commons, from the threats of climate change and, as technology improves, increasing prospects of use of the Antarctic's natural resources.

Using a horizon scanning approach, the team determined that the major short-term threats included climate change impacts on marine systems, marine resource use, ocean acidification, invasive alien species, pollution, habitat alteration, and regulatory challenges within the Treaty system.

Professor Chown, incoming Head of Biological Sciences at Monash said the impacts of climate change were particularly worrying.

"Interactions between resource use and climate change are especially significant threats," Professor Chown said.

"Climate change is increasing the risk of the introduction of non-indigenous species. Several alien species, which have track records of being highly invasive, are already present in the Peninsula region and the risks are growing."

The team also looked at the likely situation in half a century. In the longer-term, climate change impacts on terrestrial systems, and the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms are growing threats.

Professor Chown said that the Treaty system remains effective, but swifter decision-making and more collaboration were vital if the Antarctic was to be conserved.

"The quick pace of change in much of the region is under-appreciated. There's warming in the Western Antarctic, changing species distributions, and a quickening in the rate of ice-loss, among other clear signs," Professor Chown said.

"The early explorers, such as Scott, Mawson and Amundsen would certainly be surprised at what they'd find in Antarctica now and by what's being discussed as possibilities."

Over the longer term, growing tourism and science activities will raise the prospect of permanent human settlement, and interests in resource use will escalate. The authors pointed out that these developments would mean substantial challenges to the conservation of the region, and in consequence to its governance through the Antarctic Treaty System.

Contact: Emily Walker
Monash University

Related biology news :

1. Survival of the fittest -- ESF hosts session on the challenges of life in extreme environments
2. New research reveals challenges in genetically engineered crop regulatory process
3. Lawson recieves Grand Challenges Explorations grant for groundbreaking research
4. Boston Healthcare Associates Roundtable Explores Challenges and Opportunities Surrounding the Value of Big Data within the Life Sciences
5. Report addresses challenges in implementing new diagnostic tests where they are needed most
6. Recruitment by genotype for genetic research poses ethical challenges, study finds
7. Could cap and trade for water solve problems facing the United States largest rivers?
8. New study will help protect vulnerable birds from impacts of climate change
9. Crabs, insects and spiders vulnerable to oil spill, but also resilient
10. Energy requirements make Antarctic fur seal pups vulnerable to climate change
11. Genetic survey of endangered Antarctic blue whales shows surprising diversity
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... 18, 2015  As new scientific discoveries deepen our ... other healthcare providers face challenges in better using that ... In addition, as more children continue to survive pediatric ... and old age. John M. Maris, M.D ... of Philadelphia (CHOP) . --> John ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 ... a leader in the development and sale of broadly ... the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it has ... of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing ... to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are expected ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company that ... announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... held November 17-19 in Hamburg , Germany.  ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable eClinical ... able to deliver time and cost savings of up to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York on ... Dr. Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. ... communication and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... N.C. , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a ... North Carolina , today announced that the company has set ... represented a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of ... and Mexico , with the establishment ... in December 2015. --> United Kingdom ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... November 24, 2015 --> ... research report released by Transparency Market Research, the global ... a CAGR of 17.5% during the period between 2014 ... - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends ... prenatal testing market to reach a valuation of US$2.38 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use solutions ... Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined InSphero ... team and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. There ...
Breaking Biology Technology: