Impact of anthropogenic transportation to Antarctica on alien seed viability
British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom; Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa; Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia; Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 77, Hobart 7001, Australia
Antarctic ecosystems are at risk from the introduction of invasive species. The first step in the process of invasion is the transportation of alien species to Antarctic in a viable state. However, the effect of long-distance human-mediated dispersal, over different timescales, on propagule viability is not well known. We assessed the viability of Poa trivialis seeds transported to Antarctica from the UK, South Africa and Australia by ship or by ship and aircraft. Following transportation to the Antarctic Treaty area, no reduction in seed viability was found, despite journey times lasting up to 284 days and seeds experiencing temperatures as low as -1.5°C. This work confirms that human-mediated transport may overcome the dispersal barrier for some propagules, and highlights the need for effective pre-departure biosecurity measures. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.
anthropogenic effect; biological invasion; biosafety; environmental risk; invasive species; propagule; seed dispersal; transportation mode; viability; Antarctica; Poa; Poa trivialis