Biodiversity and biogeography of intertidal communities in the Antarctic

Marking the area between the high and low of the tide, the intertidal zone is a distinctive environment with a unique biota, often seen as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for changes due to climate change in cool regions. This study represents a comprehensive analysis of the biodiversity and biogeography of intertidal communities in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.

Data resources used via GBIF : 38,100 species occurrences

Marking the area between the high and low of the tide, the intertidal zone is a distinctive environment with a unique biota, often seen as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for changes due to climate change in cool regions. This study represents a comprehensive analysis of the biodiversity and biogeography of intertidal communities in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions. Compiling data from expedition records, published manuscripts, GBIF and other digital sources, the authors create a database of 3,900 occurrences across 1,416 species, noting that a general lack of standardized data makes this a challenging area to study. They are, however, able to demonstrate that the intertidal zone of the Antarctic region is far from being devoid of life. In fact, the intertidal communities of the Antarctic Peninsula prove richer and more diverse than those of southern South America.

Citations

Griffiths HJ and Waller CL (2016) The first comprehensive description of the biodiversity and biogeography of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic intertidal communities. Journal of Biogeography. Wiley-Blackwell, 1143–1155. Available at doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12708.

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