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Penguins and seal droppings are enriching biodiversity across the Antarctic peninsula as far as a away 0.6miles (one km) from where they are made.
This equates to a landmass area up to 240 times the size of the animals' colonies, say scientists.
Winds - Nitrate - Faeces - Hotspots - Soil
Antarctic winds blow the evaporated nitrate in their faeces inland creating hotspots of enriched soil that support a variety of animal and plant habitats.
Man made climate change and invasive species could however threaten these new areas, researchers warned.
Researchers - Vrije - Universiteit - Amsterdam - Cold
Researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam braved the cold of the Antarctic to examine species populations across the Antarctic region for the latest study.
They waded through fields of animal waste and groups of clamouring elephant seals, gentoo, chinstrap, and Adélie penguin to study the soils and plants surrounding these animal colonies.
End - Study - Influence - Colony - Fertilising
At the end of the study, they found that the influence of the colony's excrement - and the fertilising ammonia within - extended more than 1,000 meters beyond where they were dropped.
Dr Stef Bokhorst, a researcher in the department of ecological sciences at the university and author on the report said: 'What we see is that the poo produced by seals and penguins partly evaporates as ammonia.
Ammonia - Wind - Inland - Way - Soil
'Then, the ammonia gets picked up by the wind and is blown inland, and this makes its way into the soil and provides the nitrogen that primary producers need in order to survive in this landscape.'
This creates a circle of nutrient enrichment around the colony known as the nitrogen footprint.
Study - Process - Ammonia - Area - Times
In the current study, the process allowed the ammonia to enrich an area up to 240 times the size of the colony and create a thriving community of mosses and lichens.
These in turn supports the growth of small...
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