Poor outlook for biodiversity in Antarctica: Study finds

March 29, 2017

An international study led by Monash scientists has debunked the popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in a much better environmental shape than the rest of the world.

The study, published today in PLoS Biology and involving an interdisciplinary group of 23 researchers compared the position of Antarctic biodiversity and its management with that globally using the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Aichi targets.

"The results have been truly surprising," said lead author and Head of the School of Biological Sciences at Monash, Professor Steven Chown.

"While in some areas, such as invasive species management, the Antarctic region is doing relatively well, in others, such as protected area management and regulation of bioprospecting, it is lagging behind," he said.

The study found that the difference between the status of biodiversity in the Antarctic and the rest of the world was negligible.

"Overall, the biodiversity and conservation management outlook for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is no different to that for the rest of the planet," Professor Chown said.

The Aichi targets are part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, adopted under the CBD, to assess progress in halting global biodiversity loss.

Yet they have never been applied to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean - areas which together account for about 10 per cent of the planet's surface.

"Despite our findings, there are great opportunities for positive action," said Monash co-author Professor Melodie McGeoch.

"The agreements under the Antarctic Treaty System lend themselves to effective action, and nations have recently reinforced their desire to protect the region's biodiversity."

This latest analysis by scientists ensures that future assessments made under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 will be truly global.

"It will also help inform global progress towards achieving the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals," Professor McGeoch said.
-end-


Monash University

Related Biodiversity Articles from Brightsurf:

Biodiversity hypothesis called into question
How can we explain the fact that no single species predominates?

Using the past to maintain future biodiversity
New research shows that safeguarding species and ecosystems and the benefits they provide for society against future climatic change requires effective solutions which can only be formulated from reliable forecasts.

Changes in farming urgent to rescue biodiversity
Humans depend on farming for their survival but this activity takes up more than one-third of the world's landmass and endangers 62% of all threatened species.

Predicting the biodiversity of rivers
Biodiversity and thus the state of river ecosystems can now be predicted by combining environmental DNA with hydrological methods, researchers from the University of Zurich and Eawag have found.

About the distribution of biodiversity on our planet
Large open-water fish predators such as tunas or sharks hunt for prey more intensively in the temperate zone than near the equator.

Bargain-hunting for biodiversity
The best bargains for conserving some of the world's most vulnerable salamanders and other vertebrate species can be found in Central Texas and the Appalachians, according to new conservation tools developed at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Researchers solve old biodiversity mystery
The underlying cause for why some regions are home to an extremely large number of animal species may be found in the evolutionary adaptations of species, and how they limit their dispersion to specific natural habitats.

Biodiversity offsetting is contentious -- here's an alternative
A new approach to compensate for the impact of development may be an effective alternative to biodiversity offsetting -- and help nations achieve international biodiversity targets.

Biodiversity yields financial returns
Farmers could increase their revenues by increasing biodiversity on their land.

Biodiversity and wind energy
The location and operation of wind energy plants are often in direct conflict with the legal protection of endangered species.

Read More: Biodiversity News and Biodiversity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.