(Image source: Fox Business)

 

BY VERONICA POLIVANAYA

 

ANCHOR VICTORIA CRAIG

 

Aliens are landing in Antarctica, and using humans as spaceships. The Antarctic Treaty forbids people from deliberately introducing foreign species to the continent, but they’re bringing them in by accident. The Register explains.

 

“Seeds of foreign plants are taking root in the once pristine landscape. As the coldest and driest continent on the planet, Antarctica has a unique ecosystem, which could now be under threat.”

 

Researchers wanted to quantify the threat of invasive plants, so they vacuumed the clothing and baggage of people who visited Antarctica during the 2007-2008 season. BBC News reports on the findings

 

“Researchers say that some 70,000 seeds are carried on physicists’ clothes every year, threatening to overwhelm the continent’s ecology. The rising temperatures means ice is melting, allowing the seeds to germinate.”

 

With the continent warming up, and the ice cover dwindling, the study shows that as many as 61 percent of the incoming seeds will be more apt to survive. A writer for Discovery News points out one plant that’s already taken root on the continent.

 

“Annual bluegrass is the same weed that plagues gardens and golf courses around the world. Sounds like Antarctica may indeed be the next market for lawnmowers.”

 

But a researcher behind the study doesn’t think Antarctica is beyond salvation. National Geographic Daily News quotes him.

 

STEVEN CHOWN: “It should not be imagined that Antarctica will suddenly be covered in flowering plants and weeds. Much of it is still a very harsh place, and plants do not grow on ice, which still dominates the continent.”

 

And according to The Scientist, an invasive species biologist thinks invasive plants may be the least of Antarctica’s problems.

 

ANTHONY RICCIARDI: “Studies elsewhere have shown that travelers carry fungal spores, insect eggs, and other invertebrates in their clothing and gear. If we’re looking at the absolute picture of what threatens Antarctica, it involves more than plants.”

 

Another researcher says tourists should only take new or vacuum-cleaned clothing to Antarctica to prevent the spread of invasive plant species. ABC News quotes her.  

 

DANA BERGSTROM: “If you travel with a tourist company that issues new jackets, then that’s not a threat. But if you’re [taking] your favorite jacket, beanie or backpack, then there’s a high chance you’re inadvertently taking seeds along as well.”

 

But, should she be so quick to point to tourists? The study showed scientists brought in more seeds than tourists, despite being aware of the dangers of invasive species.

 

Green Aliens Take Root in Antarctica

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Mar 7, 2012

Green Aliens Take Root in Antarctica

 

(Image source: Fox Business)

 

BY VERONICA POLIVANAYA

 

ANCHOR VICTORIA CRAIG

 

Aliens are landing in Antarctica, and using humans as spaceships. The Antarctic Treaty forbids people from deliberately introducing foreign species to the continent, but they’re bringing them in by accident. The Register explains.

 

“Seeds of foreign plants are taking root in the once pristine landscape. As the coldest and driest continent on the planet, Antarctica has a unique ecosystem, which could now be under threat.”

 

Researchers wanted to quantify the threat of invasive plants, so they vacuumed the clothing and baggage of people who visited Antarctica during the 2007-2008 season. BBC News reports on the findings

 

“Researchers say that some 70,000 seeds are carried on physicists’ clothes every year, threatening to overwhelm the continent’s ecology. The rising temperatures means ice is melting, allowing the seeds to germinate.”

 

With the continent warming up, and the ice cover dwindling, the study shows that as many as 61 percent of the incoming seeds will be more apt to survive. A writer for Discovery News points out one plant that’s already taken root on the continent.

 

“Annual bluegrass is the same weed that plagues gardens and golf courses around the world. Sounds like Antarctica may indeed be the next market for lawnmowers.”

 

But a researcher behind the study doesn’t think Antarctica is beyond salvation. National Geographic Daily News quotes him.

 

STEVEN CHOWN: “It should not be imagined that Antarctica will suddenly be covered in flowering plants and weeds. Much of it is still a very harsh place, and plants do not grow on ice, which still dominates the continent.”

 

And according to The Scientist, an invasive species biologist thinks invasive plants may be the least of Antarctica’s problems.

 

ANTHONY RICCIARDI: “Studies elsewhere have shown that travelers carry fungal spores, insect eggs, and other invertebrates in their clothing and gear. If we’re looking at the absolute picture of what threatens Antarctica, it involves more than plants.”

 

Another researcher says tourists should only take new or vacuum-cleaned clothing to Antarctica to prevent the spread of invasive plant species. ABC News quotes her.  

 

DANA BERGSTROM: “If you travel with a tourist company that issues new jackets, then that’s not a threat. But if you’re [taking] your favorite jacket, beanie or backpack, then there’s a high chance you’re inadvertently taking seeds along as well.”

 

But, should she be so quick to point to tourists? The study showed scientists brought in more seeds than tourists, despite being aware of the dangers of invasive species.

 

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