Impact of anthropogenic transportation to Antarctica on alien seed viability
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Antarctic ecosystems are at risk from the introduction of invasive species. The first step in the process of invasion is the transportation of alien species to Antarctic in a viable state. However, the effect of longdistance human-mediated dispersal, over different timescales, on propagule viability is not well known. We assessed the viability of Poa trivialis seeds transported to Antarctica from the UK, South Africa and Australia by ship or by ship and aircraft. Following transportation to the Antarctic Treaty area, no reduction in seed viability was found, despite journey times lasting up to 284 days and seeds experiencing temperatures as low as -1.5°C. This work confirms that human-mediated transport may overcome the dispersal barrier for some propagules, and highlights the need for effective pre-departure biosecurity measures.