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Return of the megaherbs: plant colonisation of derelict ANARE station buildings on sub-Antarctic Heard Island

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 July 2004


J. Whinam
Affiliation:
Nature Conservation Branch, Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
P.M. Selkirk
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
A.J. Downing
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
Bruce Hull
Affiliation:
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia

Abstract

Buildings were constructed and artefacts left behind on sub-Antarctic Heard Island, associated with Antarctic research expeditions since 1926. Both bryophytes and vascular plants are colonising many parts of the now derelict buildings. On these structures and artefacts, the authors recorded four species of vascular plants out of the 11 that occur on Heard Island and nine species of mosses out of the 37 recorded from Heard Island. The vascular plant species most frequently recorded colonising structures and artefacts was Pringlea antiscorbutica (288 occurrences), with the area colonised varying from 0.3 cm2 to 430.0 cm2. Muelleriella crassifolia was the moss species that was most frequently recorded (14 occurrences), colonising areas from 2.1 cm2 to 12.9 cm2. The highest number of bryophyte species (seven) was recorded on the stone and cement of the ‘water tank.’ Pringlea antiscorbutica, Poa cookii, Azorella selago, Muelleriella crassifolia, Bryum dichotomum, Dicranoweisia brevipes and Schistidium apocarpum are all expected to continue to colonise the ANARE ruins, as well as areas that have become available since building removal and also possibly areas bared by further deglaciation.


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© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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