From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published June 14, 2012 02:04 PM

The Regions of Antarctica

Studies of continental Antarctica typically described broad bioregions, with the Antarctic Peninsula usually identified as biologically distinct from continental Antarctica. To many Antarctica is one vast singular frozen place. Later studies suggested a more complex biogeography. In a new study published in "Diversity and Distributions" 15 distinct, ice-free, Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Regions have been identified, encompassing the frozen continent and close by off shore lying islands. These regions can be useful in protecting local species as development, exploration, or climate changes occur.


One of the traditional and longest known bioregion is the northeast peninsula sticking up towards the tip of South America.  This is the warmest section of Antarctica and is the only portion that extends above the Antarctica circle.  This is now broken up into four smaller sub-sections.

Another obvious bioregion group are the South Orkney Islands lying north of Antarctica.

There are several mountainous areas noted as separate regions:  Trans-antarctic , Ellsworth mountains.

The remaining regions are called Enderby Land, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, North Victoria Land, South Victoria land, Marie Byrd Land, Adelie Land, and Ellsworth Land. These are regions partially isolated ans separated by glaciers, high plateaus, and similar barriers. 

Ice-free terrestrial Antarctica comprises several distinct bioregions that are not fully represented in the current Antarctic Specially Protected Area network. Biosecurity measures between these areas should be developed to prevent biotic homogenization in these regions.

For further information see Bioregion.

Antarctica image via Wikipedia.     

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