Has research and tourism introduced any alien species to Antarctica?



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    Some alien species have been unintentionally introduced to Antarctica by visitors who go there for research or tourism purposes.  The alien plant annual bluegrass has been introduced to King George Island, which is about 75 miles off the Antarctic continent.  North Atlantic spider crabs, which probably were carried into Antarctic waters by ballast water from ships, can now be found near the Antarctic Peninsula.  As scientists explore the inner reaches of Antarctic ecosystems, there is also a risk of alien bacteria being introduced and becoming established in some areas.  Adding to the already-existing problem of introduced species, global warming may alter the Antarctic climate to actually make it more hospitable for species that do not belong there.

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