British Antarctic Territory

Invasive species data and legislation

The JNCC database lists just five non-native species for BAT. There are two introduced plants Poa annua and P. pratensis, two Dipterans Eretmoptera murphyi and Parochlus steineni and an annelid worm Christensenidrilus blocki. The worm and one of the Dipterans are noted as having been introduced with soil that was part of an experiment to transplant vascular plants from South Georgia to Signy Island in 1967. Convey (2006) also notes three further records of non-native Collembola – Hypogastrura viatica at two sites and Folsomia candida and Protaphorura sp.from a third site.

In February 2010 a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) survey of the Palmer Deep seabed observed 42 live lithodid crabs. Subsequent identification of a collected female confirmed the species as Neolithodes yaldwyni, a species of King Crab not previously known to have crossed the Antarctic Shelf (Smith et al, 2011). An estimate of 10 600 individuals km2 was made.

The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty contains Annex II on the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora which dates from 1991. Article 4 of this Annex concerns the introduction of non-native species, parasites and diseases. It includes provisions that:

- Prohibit the introduction of non-native species of animals and plants, except under a permit;
- The removal of all dogs by April, 1994;
- Details of a permit system;
- A requirement to remove or dispose of any introduced species, unless they are deemed to pose no risk to native flora or fauna.

Problems with invasive non-native species

No ecological impacts are noted in the JNCC database but more recent work by Hughes et al (2013) suggests that large increases in the population density and extent of E. murphyi at Signy Island are likely to increase nutrient recycling rates in the soil.

Long with the discovery of the large population of Neolithodes yaldwyni there was evidence of it having substantial impacts on the local native fauna and habitat.

Priority invasive non-native species and actions

No information.

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark