A Functional Biogeography of the Antarctic
Biogeography, Function and a Basis for Securing Antarctic Biodiversity
Antarctica and its surrounding, sub-Antarctic, islands are among the world’s most spectacular and least disturbed environments. The sub-Antarctic islands are staggeringly beautiful. Their habitats range from lush tussock grasslands in the lowlands to polar desert and glaciers in the uplands. Some have little vegetation at all. Others, in the more northerly reaches, may have lowland woody habitats.
All of the islands are home to huge populations of seabirds and seals. They include albatrosses, penguins, elephant seals, and several species of fur seals. The islands’ vegetation includes extraordinary flowering plant species such as Ross Lillies and the Kerguelen Cabbage, but is dominated by groups such as the mosses and lichens. Terrestrial life includes just a few endemic birds, such as sheathbills, ducks and parrots, while insect life abounds. Many of these insects are curious, having reduced wings or no wings at all.