Scientists and policy makers at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which finished at Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Friday 23 June, agreed new measures that will reduce the risk of non-native species being introduced into both marine and terrestrial ecosystems in Antarctica.
To protect the marine environment, the meeting adopted new practical guidelines for ballast water exchange by ships operating in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Under the new guidelines drawn up by the UK, vessels will need to exchange any ballast water before arriving in Antarctic waters, and plan for and keep records of all ballast water operations.
According to Dr John Shears of British Antarctic Survey, “In the past, Antarctica was isolated with a very harsh and cold environment, which made it very difficult for non-native species to establish. However, more and more people are travelling to the continent, most of them on ships. Evidence from other parts of the world has shown that there is a direct link between numbers of people visiting a remote area and the numbers of non-native species that survive. Once established, they can be very difficult to eradicate. Prevention is better than cure.”
Concerned that a rapidly changing and warming climate on the Antarctic Peninsula could increase the risk of non-native species establishing themselves on the continent itself, the meeting also backed a series of recommendations made by New Zealand. These include development of a code of conduct for land-based activities - a set of minimum standards that all visitors, including tourists and scientists, would have to follow. Scientists called for more research into the issue. Dr Shears said that scientists need to identify which areas of Antarctica are most vulnerable and better understand the potential implications of climate change on the spread of non-native species.
Dr Shears says, “Antarctica’s remoteness and isolation offer science a unique opportunity to understand our world. Part of Antarctica’s value as a natural laboratory lies in the fact that its communities of animals and plants consist of only a few species living in simple relationships. This makes the Antarctic a perfect place to study how ecosystems work. The inadvertent introduction of non-native species into Antarctica could put this in jeopardy, and has the potential to change the continent’s biodiversity forever.”
Linda Capper | alfa
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy