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Conservation biogeography of the Antarctic
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Diversity and Distributions
Volume 18, Issue 7, pages 726–741, July 2012
How to Cite
Terauds, A., Chown, S. L., Morgan, F., J. Peat, H., Watts, D. J., Keys, H., Convey, P. and Bergstrom, D. M. (2012), Conservation biogeography of the Antarctic. Diversity and Distributions, 18: 726–741. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2012.00925.x
- Issue published online: 7 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 APR 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 14 APR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 2 FEB 2012
- Antarctic biodiversity;
- biogeographical zones;
- conservation planning;
- ice-free Antarctica;
- spatial ecology;
- sub-Antarctic biogeography
To present a synthesis of past biogeographic analyses and a new approach based on spatially explicit biodiversity information for the Antarctic region to identify biologically distinct areas in need of representation in a protected area network.
Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic.
We reviewed and summarized published biogeographic studies of the Antarctic. We then developed a biogeographic classification for terrestrial conservation planning in Antarctica by combining the most comprehensive source of Antarctic biodiversity data available with three spatial frameworks: (1) a 200-km grid, (2) a set of areas based on physical parameters known as the environmental domains of Antarctica and (3) expert-defined bioregions. We used these frameworks, or combinations thereof, together with multivariate techniques to identify biologically distinct areas.
Early studies of continental Antarctica typically described broad bioregions, with the Antarctic Peninsula usually identified as biologically distinct from continental Antarctica; later studies suggested a more complex biogeography. Increasing complexity also characterizes the sub-Antarctic and marine realms, with differences among studies often attributable to the focal taxa. Using the most comprehensive terrestrial data available and by combining the groups formed by the environmental domains and expert-defined bioregions, we were able to identify 15 biologically distinct, ice-free, Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions (ACBRs), encompassing the continent and close lying islands.
Ice-free terrestrial Antarctica comprises several distinct bioregions that are not fully represented in the current Antarctic Specially Protected Area network. Biosecurity measures between these ACBRs should also be developed to prevent biotic homogenization in the region.