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SYDNEY (REUTERS) - In the pristine frozen continent of Antarctica scientists fear an alien invasion -- not from outer space, but carried in people's pockets and bags.
Seeds and plants accidentally brought to Antarctica by tourists and scientists may introduce alien plant species which could threaten the survival of native plants in the finely balanced ecosystem.
More than 33,000 tourists and 7,000 scientists visit Antarctica each year by ship and aircraft, and a two month survey of visitors has found that many are carrying plant seeds picked up from other countries they have already visited.
The study vacuumed travelers' pockets, trouser and sleeve cuffs, shoes and inside their bags, and used tweezers to pry out accidentally hidden seeds. On average each person checked had just 9.5 seeds in clothing and equipment.
I would have never been able to guess that↑. That's a significant number, regardless of where in the world it was tested.
On average each person checked had just 9.5 seeds in clothing and equipment.
Ok. so these 4 types might survive, but I'm sure that a large percentage of them would never even begin to grow, yet alone survive through a winter.
Amongst the alien species discovered were the Iceland Poppy, Tall Fescue Velvet grass and Annual Winter Grass -- all from cold climates and capable of growing in Antarctica.