Testing the diversity of marine refugia on sub-Antarctic islands



Antarctica provides a challenging environment for animals to live in. In the past, its climate has regularly been even harsher, with ice-impacted conditions extending even further towards the equator. The sub-Antarctic was also regularly impacted by glacial cycling, and climatic conditions were more like those in Antarctica today. These previous glacial periods appear to have completely wiped out the animals living there, and it is most likely that the animals living there today have only ‘recently’ recolonized these sub-Antarctic outposts after the Last Glacial Maximum.

We will compare the genetic signatures of animals in sub-Antarctic and compare these to data from Antarctica. We will also compare the natural chemical defenses found in many marine organisms. Finally, we will compare biological interactions between the two regions, comparing symbioses among regions to understand the biological history of sub-Antarctic marine fauna in a comprehensive and unified manner.


Principal Investigator (PI)

Nerida Wilson

Western Australian Museum, Australia


Testing the diversity of marine refugia

at sub-Antarctic Islands

Principal institution / country

  • La Trobe University (Australia)
  • Universidad de Chile (Chile)
  • University of South Florida (USA)
  • University of Genoa (Italy)