Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra

The Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra is a tundra ecoregion that includes five island groups in the Southern Ocean: the Bounty Islands, Auckland Islands, Antipodes Islands and Campbell Island groups of New Zealand, and Macquarie Island of Australia. [http://worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/aa/aa1101_full.html Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra (World Wildlife Fund)] ]

The islands comprising this ecoregion share a long history of isolation, both from other landmasses and each other. The isolation, combined with harsh climates characterised by low temperatures, strong winds and few hours of sunlight in winter, have resulted in the evolution of many endemic plants and animals, though species richness is relatively low.

Where present, soils are mainly boggy peats, up to eight metres deep in flat areas. Vegetation may include low forests of Southern Rata in the more sheltered areas of the Aucklands and parts of Campbell Island as well as tussock grassland, shrubland, herbfield, feldmark and cushion plants. The Bounty Islands lack soils and their flora is largely restricted to algae and lichens.

There are no native land mammals, nor amphibians or reptiles. There are five breeding species of seal, the New Zealand Sea Lion, Southern Elephant Seal, Australasian Fur Seal, Subantarctic Fur Seal and Antarctic Fur Seal. There are also large numbers of breeding penguins and other seabirds.

References


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