Biosecurity at the Extreme: Pathways and Vectors between New Zealand and Scott Base, Antarctica
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Forestry Science
Biosecurity is one of the main mechanisms used to protect and mitigate the introduction of non-indigenous species. Effective biosecurity requires a knowledge and understanding of pathways and vectors along which invasion can occur. This study contributes to our knowledge and understanding of possible biosecurity risk factors in the Antarctic by identifying potential vectors for invasive species in the pathway between New Zealand and the Antarctic. The Antarctic has important indigenous terrestrial and marine, plant and animal species, all of which contribute to the food chain in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. This study seeks to contribute some baseline data about pathways and vectors between the two regions and the implications for the biosecurity of both. An assessment of some of the risks associated with human activities within the Antarctic region, including the traffic of people and goods to and from the area, are the focus of this thesis. Current biosecurity practices with regard to personnel, shipping containers, and fresh produce are examined and where appropriate, recommendations to alleviate any detected risks are made. The results of the research indicate a significant volume of seed and plant material being unintentionally transported to Antarctica. The most striking finding was the presence of seeds in new clothes, which have previously been assumed not to be vectors. The presence of seeds in soil samples in Antarctica suggests that seeds have probably already been transported to Antarctica. Presently the climate in Scott Base seems to prevent non-indigenous species from becoming established. However, with the increases in temperature being experienced in Antarctica, this may not always be the case, therefore greater attention to biosecurity legislation and its implementation is required.