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Uncovering invertebrate biodiversity in East Antarctica’s nearshore marine habitats: Underpinning monitoring and management from local to global scales
Glenn J. Johnstone

Authors

Glenn J Johnstone
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems Theme, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Hwy, Kingston TAS 7050

Jonathan S Stark
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems Theme, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Hwy, Kingston TAS 7050

Felicity McEnnulty
Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems Theme, Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Hwy, Kingston TAS 7050

Abstract

Accurate identification to species level underpins efforts to describe both pattern and process in ecological systems. Work to describe, identify and catalogue the nearshore marine invertebrates of East Antarctica is fundamental to the monitoring of natural and human induced ecological changes and of efforts to remediate past impacts. Nearshore benthic marine ecosystems are hot spots of Antarctic biodiversity. Their proximity to coastal Antarctic stations makes them vulnerable to impacts from local to global scales and useful systems in which to monitor natural and human induced ecological change. Using traditional taxonomic methods combined with genetic techniques we have identified over 530 species of infaunal and epifaunal invertebrates from nearshore habitats (to 30m depth) around Casey and Davis stations. Through the careful curation and management of the samples we have collected, this material will ultimately be lodged at Australia’s museums for long term archiving. New species and cryptic speciation have been discovered. For example, an Ostracod previously thought to be a single species has proven to be a complex of up to 9 species, including 5 previously undescribed species and a new genus. Ongoing DNA sequencing work is expected to uncover more diversity given that several recent studies have indicated a high likelihood of undiscovered intraspecific genetic biodiversity in Antarctic benthic marine invertebrates. Both traditional taxonomy and current and evolving genetic techniques will be key to understanding, protecting and conserving Antarctic marine biodiversity and to fully realising their potential as indictors of global issues such as climate change and ocean acidification.

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Key dates

  • 11th June 2013
    Registrations close
  • 21st June 2013
    Registrations at the AAD open for staff
  • 24th June 2013
    Registrations at the venue open
  • 24th June 2013
    Conference commences
  • 26th June 2013
    Conference concludes

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This page was last modified on 23 September 2013.