Wednesday 7 March 2012

This morning my blood is boiling.

This story is just one of a whole host of very important stories that were covered by sources other than the New Zealand print media.

I got this from Radio New Zealand and when I looked online found no mention from Stuff or the New Zealand Herald.  ABC covered it and this version is taken from Iranian TV!!  Will we have to rely on Iranian TV for our regional news?!

One might have thought that a story affecting the ecosystems of Antarctic just might be of interest to New Zealanders.

For ABC coverage GO HERE

Alien plant species threaten Antarctica’s ecosystem balance
Scientists have warned that the balance of Antarctica’s ecosystem might be threatened by the alien plant species brought to the region by tourists and scientists.

6 March, 2012

The report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal explains that the alien seeds and plants can pose a threat to the survival of Antarctica’s native species by invading the continent’s balanced ecosystem. 

Researchers observed 1,000 passengers from 2007 to 2008 and found that on average each person had 9.5 seeds in clothing and equipment picked up from the countries they had visited. 

"The people that were carrying the most had lots and lots of seeds. They really were substantial threats," said Dana Bergstrom of the Australian Antarctic Division. 

"When we take things in through hitchhiking then we get species which are competitive. The plants and animals there are not necessarily competitive, so there's a good chance... we'd start losing various precious biodiversity on the (Antarctic) continent," she added. 

One of the threatening alien species that has invaded the region is Annual Winter Grass which is a sub-Antarctic species and has made its way to the tail part of the continent. 

"That's just one example of the weeds we picked up and a population of it has just been found in the last couple of seasons," Bergstrom noted. 

The report added that the Antarctic Peninsula which is the hot spot of the frozen continent is easier for seeds to spread in. 

"The peninsula is warming at some of the greatest rates on the planet," said Bergstrom. 

Researchers believe the findings are of great importance as more than 33,000 tourists and 7,000 scientists visit Antarctica each year. 

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