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Non-indigenous microorganisms in the Antarctic: assessing the risks.

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature131634
Source
Trends Microbiol. 2011 Nov;19(11):540-8
Publication Type
Article
Date
Nov-2011
Author
Don A Cowan
Steven L Chown
Peter Convey
Marla Tuffin
Kevin Hughes
Stephen Pointing
Warwick F Vincent
Author Affiliation
Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics, University of the Western Cape, Bellville 7535, Cape Town, South Africa. dcowan@uwc.ac.za
Source
Trends Microbiol. 2011 Nov;19(11):540-8
Date
Nov-2011
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Antarctic Regions
Climate change
Ecosystem
Environmental Microbiology
Environmental pollution
Human Activities
Humans
Introduced species
Abstract
The Antarctic continent is frequently cited as the last pristine continent on Earth. However, this view is misleading for several reasons. First, there has been a rapid increase in visitors to Antarctica, with large increases at research bases and their environs and to sites of major tourist interest (e.g. historical sites and concentrations of megafauna). Second, although substantial efforts are made to avoid physical disturbance and contamination by chemical, human and other wastes at these sites, little has been done to prevent the introduction of non-indigenous microorganisms. Here, we analyse the extent and significance of anthropogenic introduction of microbial 'contaminants' to the Antarctic continent. We conclude that such processes are unlikely to have any immediate gross impact on microbiological community structure or function, but that increased efforts are required to protect the unique ecosystems of Antarctica from microbial and genetic contamination and homogenisation.
PubMed ID
21893414 View in PubMed
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