Aliens in the Arctic

In a recent study co-authored by The3DLab-member Ronja Wedegärtner, a team of researchers have mapped invasive plants on Svalbard, and the results leave no doubt; alien plants grow where humans have been.

Two of the researchers on fieldwork in Svalbard. Photo: Lawrence Hislop / Norwegian Polar Institute 

The research team found 36 alien plant species, which grew exclusively in areas with human activity. Both around tourist attractions in settlements, and where there has previously been farming.

All of this might sound minor – finding 36 alien plant species should not be that much work, right? – yet the remoteness and challenging working conditions on Svalbard make organized alien species inventories far from straightforward. With this new study, the researchers finally provided a benchmark for continuous monitoring, that will greatly facilitate keeping track of changing biodiversity in the Arctic in the future.

More details on the study can be found in this nice blogpost.

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