Studying biodiversity in the Antarctic



Using powerful new genetic and computational approaches, we will address a major, unresolved question in modern biology: how has life evolved and spread around the Antarctic region, both in the past and today? In doing so we expect to find species new to science in areas that are rarely visited. The new fundamental discoveries we make will improve conservation in the region. We will devise ways to help predict what the impacts of rapid climate change will be on the region’s biodiversity, providing assistance to decision-makers seeking to reduce them. Our research will also provide innovative tools to help decision-makers determine whether newly recorded species are local or from elsewhere in the world. Invasive species are the region’s largest conservation problem – a problem expected to increase with climate change.

Our project will leave a substantial legacy: Resolution of fundamental questions about how life has evolved in the Antarctic. Discovery of species new to science. Improved understanding of the region to the benefit of conservation management during times of rapid change. Publicly accessible information and products to improve knowledge and appreciation of the Antarctic’s wilderness value, conservation significance, and sheer beauty. Education and inspiration of a new cohort of polar scientists.


Principal Investigator (PI)

2_chownSteven L Chown

Monash University



Settling Decades of Debate:
A Dynamic, Functional Biogeography of the sub-Antarctic

Principal institution / country

  • Australian Antarctic Division (Australia)
  • British Antarctic Survey, United Kingdom CSIRO (Australia)
  • Department of Conservation, New Zealand
  • National Institute for Agricultural Research, INRA (France)
  • Moscow State Pedagogical University (Russian Federation)
  • Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (France)
  • South Australian Museum (Australia)
  • Université de Rennes 1 (France)
  • University of Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • University of Kentucky (USA)
  • University of Queensland (Australia)
  • University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)
  • University of Waikato (New Zealand)
  • Zool. Staatssammlung München (Germany)