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The image of Antarctica as a symbol of the last great wilderness and pristine environment has changed considerably in the last two decades. Environmental problems such as the ozone hole and the break-up of ice-shelves have shown that Antarctica is inextricably linked to global processes and exposed to the impact of human activities in the rest of the world. This volume provides an overview of climate change data, its effects on the structure and functioning of Antarctic ecosystems, and the occurrence and cycling of persistent contaminants. It discusses the unique physico-chemical characteristics of the Antarctic environment, ecophysiological adaptations of terrestrial and marine organisms, the transfer of contaminants in pelagic and neritic food chains and the possible consequences for animals at higher trophic levels. The text concludes with possible future scenarios of climate change and atmospheric contamination and the role of Antarctic organisms in the early detection of environmental perturbations.
Antartica: geomorphology and climate trends.- Glacial, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.- The Southern Ocean environment: anthropogenic impact and climate change.- Persistent contaminants in the Antarctic atmosphere.- Anthropogenic contaminants in snow, terrestrial ecosystems and inland waters.- Trace elements in Antarctic seawater and sediments and polluted coastal ecosystems.- Heavy metals and POPs in Antarctic marine food chains.- Climate change, anthropogenic impact and environmental research in Antarctica: a perspective.- References.- Subject index.
From the reviews: "... Docent Bargagli (Univ. of Siena, Italy) has undertaken a balanced overview of major environmental issues such as the ozone hole and the breakup of the iceshelves linked to global warming. He admirably counteracts the current tendency toward dramatization. ... The book is beautifully executed with numerous line drawings and photographs and has a very extensive bibliography. Great care has been taken with the English language editing so that the text reads extremely well. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals." (Choice) "... another valuable book in the Springer Ecological Studies series ..." (Antarctic Science) "It is a pleasure seeing after Vol. 154 another book about the Antarctic being published in the esteemed monograph series Ecological Studies. ... This book has the advantage of a one-man work, it is homogeneous and has a clear concept. It is written in a fluent style. The sections are well organised and subdivided, and each one finishes with a summary. ... the author is to be congratulated for his wide transdisciplinary view. He has well illustrated the problem whether and to what extent the Antarctic is pristine. ... This valuable ecotoxicological study sets a baseline for future investigations of the Antarctic environment. It is therefore of great interest to scientists and students of various disciplines, environmentalists and nature protectionists." (Polarforschung) "The volume provides a novel and timely perspective on ! Antarctic ecosystems specifically, and the much wider fields of global climatic and biogeochemical processes. ! the book will provide an important benchmark reference volume for years to come. ! Each chapter is well structured, commencing with a clear introduction and concluding with an equally clear summary, valuable to the general reader. ! The real value of these chapters lies in the sheer amount of information that has been collated and distilled ! ." (Peter Convey, Journal of Paleolimnology, Vol. 36, 2006) "A useful overview of the physical geography of the region with emphasis placed on recent changes in climate. ! value of this text is that all the pertinent data are collected in one place. In addition, the constant changes between natural and anthropogenic change seen in all chapters leave the reader with no doubt as to the pervasive and potentially damaging impact the human population can have. Given this it makes an ideal reference text to those wishing to study the area in more detail." (TE News, August, 2008)