|Bilicaria Aprina Lichen
in the Taylor Valley
Antarctica New Zealand
Evolution and Dispersal of Algae Along a Latitudinal Gradient
This programme aimed to assess the genetic relationships of non-marine algal populations along a latitudinal gradient from the Ross Sea sector, a subantarctic island, and alpine habitats in New Zealand. Knowledge of the diversity, origin and evolution of non-marine algae in Antarctica is lacking. Although it is widely assumed that cosmopolitan species have dispersed great distances to Antarctica by aeolian means, this has never been conclusively demonstrated. Gene sequencing and DNA fingerprinting will be combined with traditional methods to assess algal relationships along the gradient the genetic isolation of populations and show the extent of recruitment and dispersal between them. Because latitudinal and altitudinal variation is viewed as a surrogate for climate change, results may also show how Antarctic algal communities will be selected in response to climate change in the future, and assist interpretation of results by other scientists in the LGP.
Contact: Dr Phil Novis, Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand
2003-2004 Metadata: Evolution and dispersal of algae along a latitudinal gradient
Biodiversity and Performance of Lichens and Mosses
The terrestrial vegetation of Cape Hallett, the Darwin Glacier region and parts of the Beardmore Glacier regions was mapped and described and all lichens and mosses identified. The insects and mites present at each main group of terrestrial vegetation were sampled. An analysis will be made of the relationship between type of plant and invertebrate taxa, at present this type of data do not exist.
Contact: Prof. Allan Green, School of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, New Zealand
2002-2003 Metadata: Biodiversity survey at Mt Kyffin near the Beardmore Glacier
2003-2004 Metadata: The use of GIS mapping techniques to assess changes in vegetation at Cape Hallett
2004-2006 Metadata: Plant biodiversity survey of the Cape Hallett region
2004-2006 Metadata: Examination of the photosynthetic behaviour of mosses and lichens throughout the summer season at Cape Hallett
2006-2008 Metadata: Population genetics of the lichen species Umbilicaria aprina, Umbilicaria decussata and Buellia frigida along a latitudinal gradient in the Ross Sea region
Poster: Diversity of crustose lichens in continental Antarctica
Terrestrial Antarctic Biocomplexity Survey (nzTABS)
The nzTABS mission focuses on examining the biocomplexity of terrestrial ecosystems living in the extreme environments of the Ross Dependency, Antarctica, and building a biocomplexity model linking biodiversity, landscape and environmental factors is an easily understood form. Their mission question is: What biological or environmental factors drive terrestrial biocomplexity at any chosen location in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica? Answering this question will enable the team to determine what limits biocomplexity in different areas and allow them to predict the effects of natural and man-made impacts on these unique and fragile communities. This will help improve their ability to manage and protect the terrestrial ecosystems at the bottom of the world.
Contact: Prof Craig Cary, School of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, New Zealand
Biology of Antarctic Springtails
In an era of climate change, the distribution of organisms and how this may change is of global importance. In particular, limits the geographic range of species is poorly understood. In Antarctica, the limits to speciesí geographic ranges are determined by strong temperature and moisture gradients in the physical environment. This project used the three species of springtails (Insecta: Collembola) that live in the terrestrial habitat of Cape Hallett in North Victoria Land to address key questions about global animal distribution. They mapped the distribution of the three species of springtails at Cape Hallett, and related this to moisture and temperature variables. They also gathered information on each speciesí responses to cold and drought to understand the way their biology limits their distribution. They then integrated this ecological and physiological information with genetic data to test specific hypotheses about why there is an edge to a speciesí range.
Contact: Brent Sinclair, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Preliminary maps of arthropod distribution at Cape Hallett
2002-2003 (1) Metadata 2002-2003 (2) Metadata 2002-2003 (3) Metadata
Vegetation Communities for the Monitoring of Environmental Conditions and Climate Change Effects Along a Transect through Continental Antarctica
Twenty four sites located within five degrees of latitude along the Victoria Land coast have been studied to detect and describe the widest variety of ecological conditions and their associated vegetation communities. Selected communities were analysed with the phytosociological survey to describe their floristic compostition, structure, distribution patterns and ecological requirements. Twenty permanent plots were installed at nine sites for long term monitoring. These data will provide the basis for monitoring the long term effects of climate change or of other significant environmental factors.
Contact: Nicoletta Cannone, Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Universita Milano Bicocca, Italy
Evaluation of deterioration of historic huts & biodiversity of terrestrial microorganisms
The extreme polar environment has protected many of the wooden huts and artefacts of the Heroic Period of exploration from rapid decay but they are not free from deterioration. This programme has three objectives; first, to identify the cause of biological and non-biological deterioration present in the Historic Huts and artefacts of the Ross Dependency; second, to investigate the biodiversity of the biological organisms in the Historic Hut areas, especially fungi and bacteria; and third, to test conservationally acceptable materials for their long-term preservation.
Contact: Prof. Roberta Farrell, School of Biological Sciences, Waikato University
Natural spatial subsidies in continental Antarctic soils
Antarctic dry valleys, like hot deserts, show clear patterns of movement of soil and organic matter around their landscapes, via the agency of both water flows and wind dispersal. The associated flows of key ecological resources including carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus take the form of source-sink relationships between landscape patches, from highly productive sources to less productive sinks. Maintenance of biodiversity in dry valleys is dependent upon these fluxes. Our model of resource redistribution indicates that landscape function and biodiversity may be affected by broad characteristics of valleys, including valley size and latitude as it affects energy budget, precipitation and temperature. We are testing these hypotheses by comparison of valleys along the latitudinal gradient in Victoria Land.
Dry Valleys Soils project
2004-2005 Metadata: Biochemical cycling and soil community composition