The changing form of Antarctic biodiversity

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Antarctic biodiversity is much more extensive, ecologically diverse and biogeographically structured than previously thought. Understanding of how this diversity is distributed in marine and terrestrial systems, the mechanisms underlying its spatial variation, and the significance of the microbiota is growing rapidly. Broadly recognizable drivers of diversity variation include energy availability and historical refugia. The impacts of local human activities and global environmental change nonetheless pose challenges to the current and future understanding of Antarctic biodiversity. Life in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean is surprisingly rich, and as much at risk from environmental change as it is elsewhere.


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  1. School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia

    • Steven L. Chown,
    • Katherine L. Moon &
    • Melodie A. McGeoch
  2. British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK

    • Andrew Clarke
  3. Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

    • Ceridwen I. Fraser &
    • Katherine L. Moon
  4. International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand

    • S. Craig Cary


S.L.C., S.C.C. and M.A.M. conceived the work; C.I.F conceptualized and drew the figures; all authors contributed equally to the planning and writing of the manuscript.

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