Characterization and mapping of plant communities at Hennequin Point, King George Island, Antarctica
King George Island is the largest island and the principal area used for research bases in Antarctica. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Poland, Russia, South Korea and Uruguay have permanent open bases on this island. Other countries have seasonal summer stations on different parts of this island, which demonstrates that human impact is strong on King George Island relative to other areas in the maritime and continental Antarctica. The objective of this work was to present a phytosociological approach for ice-free areas of Hennequin Point, eastern coast of Admiralty Bay, King George Island. The study started with the classification and description of the plant communities based primarily on phytosociological and biodiversity data. The area was mapped using an Astech Promark II® DGPS, yielding sub-metric precision after post-processing with software. The plant communities were described as follows: (1) lichen and moss cushion formation; (2) moss carpet formation; (3) fellfield formation; (4) grass and cushion chamaephyte formation; and (5) Deschampsia Antarctica–lichen formation. Characterizations and distributions of the plant communities are presented on a map at a scale of 1:5000. The plant communities found at Hennequin Point, in general, differ from those found in other areas of the Admiralty Bay region, probably because of the concentration of skua nests in the area and the relief singularities. We conclude by highlighting the importance of the study of plant species found in the ice-free areas of the Antarctic with respect to environmental monitoring and for evaluating global climate and environmental changes.
Keywords: Plant communities mapping; lichens; mosses; flowering plants; Antarctic
(Published: 7 August 2013)
Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 19261, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.19261
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.