Penguin poo drives Antarctic biodiversity on land

The fecal deposition by penguins and elephant seals increases the abundance and diversity of Antarctic invertebrates on land. This despite the freezing and dry conditions of Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems. The nitrogen deposited by penguins and elephant seals evaporates as ammonia and can travel many kilometers inland through wind, where it enriches the cryptogam vegetation which supports the invertebrate food web. The lead author, Stef Bokhorst, gives a short interview on this in the Dutch radio program “Vroege Vogels”:

The full article in “Current Biology” can be found at