Photo: Kristian Bell

Ecological Extremes in Antarctica, Mechanisms of Resilience and Recovery

To coincide with World Antarctic Day on December 1, this symposium will discuss the impact of climate change and other environmental challenges on Antarctica, and what can be done to preserve the continent’s biodiversity in response to these threats.

Participants available for interview – contact Grace Heathcote; Ecological Society of Australia on 0404 542 523 or

Changes in the westerly jet stream around Antarctica have caused wind speeds, temperature, sea level pressure and precipitation to alter. These, in addition to other out-of-the-ordinary stratospheric conditions at the end of 2019, caused heatwaves across Antarctica in January and February 2020.

Three researchers from the ECO Antarctica project experienced these heatwaves firsthand and will speak about their work at ESA2020.

“Antarctica is certainly an extreme ecosystem for plants and animals to live,” says Dr Melinda Waterman, who leads the University of Wollongong’s ECO Antarctica team.

“Antarctica has been one of the many places on earth to experience impacts of climate change in recent decades. Although isolated, Antarctica plays a vital role in global ocean circulation, which affects global climate,” she says.

In these times of rapidly changing environmental conditions, it is imperative that we understand how resilient Antarctica’s unique biodiversity is to change, in order to provide essential information for management and policy development.

*Text adapted from information provided by the University of Wollongong.

Also in this session:

  • Global environmental pressures on terrestrial biodiversity in the Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica
  • Conserving Antarctic biodiversity with priority threat management
  • From CBD to glacier edge: moss colonisation and climate change
  • Current state of Antarctic biodiversity monitoring
  • Challenges of monitoring Antarctic lichen communities using photo digitisation
  • Monitoring East Antarctic vegetation in a time of change
  • Old-growth moss forests as proxies for microclimates in coastal Antarctica


Media releases:

On Twitter: #ESAus20 // @EcolSocAus

Conference website:

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