Nature & Environment

Insects And The Growth Of Mosses Threaten Antarctica Now

Elaine Hannah
First Posted: Jun 19, 2017 04:50 AM EDT
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Scientists stated that invading plants such as the growth of mosses and insects like the common housefly could be a major threat now in Antarctica. This is blamed for the soaring temperatures in the region.

Dominic Hodgson of the British Antarctic Survey said that the common housefly is the perfect example of the problem the Antarctic now faces from invading species. He further said that it comes in on ships where it thrives in kitchens and then at bases on the continent.

These common flies could survive now in the Antarctic as it warms up. Hodgson also said that insects like the fly carry pathogens that could have a harmful effect on indigenous lifeforms.

The Guardian reports that the invaders such as the larvae or seeds are seen surviving in the coastal areas around the South Pole, in which the temperatures rose by over 3 degrees Celsius over the past three decades. The region is also invading by the growth of mosses as the glaciers retreated. The most affected region is the Antarctic peninsula that is the most vulnerable to global warming.

The greening of Antarctica is due to global warming. It is reported that for over the past 60 years, the temperature of Antarctica has risen by around half a degree Celsius every decade. Dan Charman of Exeter University discovered that the rate of moss growth is four or five times higher than it was before 1950. He said that the sensitivity of moss growth to past temperature rises indicates that ecosystems will change fast under future warming. This could lead to major changes in the biology and landscape of the region. Charman added that they see the Antarctic greening to parallel well-established observations in the Arctic.

Another threat that is invading Antarctica is the salps, which are translucent and gelatinous creatures. These live in Antarctica's Southern Ocean, in which the Antarctic krill thrives. Krill is the food for Antarctic creatures such as seals, baleen whales, penguins, fish and seabirds.

Experts believed that if there is no krill, there will be no Antarctica. The problem is that when salps are abundant, the krill are scarce and vice versa. Their appearance also indicates that the Antarctica is warming, according to Now Toronto.

Meanwhile, Hodgson said that the insects and plants that are native to Antarctica have survived there for thousands of years. He further said that action must be done now to save this last and pristine environment.

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