Exploring the Last Continent

An Introduction to Antarctica

  • Daniela Liggett
  • Bryan Storey
  • Yvonne Cook
  • Veronika Meduna

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Daniela Liggett, Bryan Storey, Yvonne Cook
    Pages 1-6
  3. Physical Sciences

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. Yvonne Cook, Bryan Storey
      Pages 9-27
    3. Bryan Storey, Yvonne Cook
      Pages 29-49
    4. Cliff Atkins
      Pages 51-65
    5. Kate E. Sinclair
      Pages 67-89
    6. Ian Owens, Peyman Zawar-Reza
      Pages 91-114
    7. Michael J. M. Williams
      Pages 115-127
    8. Rhian A. Salmon, Anna E. Jones
      Pages 129-153
  4. Life Sciences

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Peter W. Carey
      Pages 157-173
    3. Paul A. Broady
      Pages 175-200
    4. Paul A. Broady
      Pages 201-228
    5. José C. Xavier, Lloyd S. Peck
      Pages 229-252
    6. Regina Eisert
      Pages 253-290
    7. Crystal Lenky, Bill Davison
      Pages 291-303
  5. Social Sciences and Humanities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 305-305
    2. Ursula Rack
      Pages 307-325
    3. Neil Gilbert
      Pages 327-359

About this book


This multidisciplinary book examines Antarctica, from its geological origins as it separated from the Gondwana supercontinent, to Captain James Cook and crew, the first recorded observation by Europeans, to its present as a research outpost protected from energy exploitation, and a climate change bellwether.

The first part of the book discusses Antarctica’s physical systems over time – the continent’s geological evolution, its climate, weather and atmosphere, and its distinctive oceanographic, hydrographic and glaciological features. This section includes chapters on Antarctica’s geological history; its cryosphere and hydrological systems; and the Antarctic atmosphere, including the role Antarctica plays in the global atmospheric system.

The second part of the volume surveys Antarctica’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Among the chapter topics in this section are biological diversity of the Subantarctic Islands; aquatic and non-aquatic terrestrial ecosystems; marine ecosystems of the Southern Ocean, birds and mammals, invertebrates and fish of Antarctica.

The third part is devoted to the history of human endeavors in Antarctica and the politics behind human activities in the Southern Ocean and on the continent. The contributors delve into historical and social aspects of Antarctic exploration; the governance approach which sets the continent aside for peace and science; tourism; psychological aspects of human endeavours on the Ice; and Antarctic arts.

The final part of the book weaves together insights in the physical, social and human sciences to illuminate a discussion of current issues, such as climate change, bio-prospecting, science collaboration, and environmental management. Individual chapters discuss the exploitation of marine living resources; biological prospecting; geological resources; renewable energy; regulatory challenges of commercial exploitation; the causes and impacts of climate change in

Antarctica; and the role of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).


Antarctic ecosystems Antarctic governance Antarctic science Antarctica Southern Ocean

Editors and affiliations

  • Daniela Liggett
    • 1
  • Bryan Storey
    • 2
  • Yvonne Cook
    • 3
  • Veronika Meduna
    • 4
  1. 1.Gateway Antarctica University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Gateway Antarctica University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.School of Earth & Environmental Science James Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  4. 4.Radio NZ HouseWellingtonNew Zealand

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18947-5
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Earth and Environmental Science
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-18946-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-18947-5
  • About this book