Short Name:

plant and animal propagules inadvertently carried into the Antarctic

In the austral summer of 2007/2008, using the momentum of the International Polar Year (2007-2009), an international team of ecologists assessed propagule (e.g. seeds, spores, reproductive adult organisms) pressure and the vectors (e.g. clothing, containers, fresh produce) and pathways (e.g. Australia to Antarctica via air or via sea), in as integrated a fashion across the region as possible. Eight hundred and fifty people, travelling on 27 different ships and aircraft, making 55 different voyages, were sampled, focusing on seeds. Approximately half of those sampled were involved in national Antarctic programmes (14 ships/aircraft and 18 voyages), and half from tourist operations (13 ships and 37 voyages). Additionally, 5,000 questionnaires were completed to assess patterns of travel history. Approximately 30% of the visitors sampled carried plant seeds. Initial analyses indicated that the categories ‘ship and aircraft crew’ and ‘tourists’ had the lowest proportion of members carrying seeds, whereas ‘field-based scientist’ and ‘tourist support personnel’ had the highest proportion with seeds present.

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