Home Ecology Polar Writings Pictures Piano James Fenton Downloads

James HC Fenton


Polar Home Signy Is peat Other Antarctic peat Vertical edges Peat erosion Other Antarctic mosses Grass & Algae Falkland Is & UK

Antarctic moss peat: Signy Island

1. The Moss peat banks of Signy & Moe Islands, South Orkney Islands.

The peat is formed by two species of moss: Polytrichum strictum and Chorisodontium aciphyllum. It is underlain by permafrost at a depth of c.15-20 cm, and is up to two metres thick and 5,000 years old.

Pictures 1-15 show deep moss peat banks on level or gently sloping ground at the northwest end of Signy Island.

Pictures 15-20 taken on nearby Moe Island.

Pictures 21-26 illustrate a turf on a steep slope dominated by Polytrichum strictum below Observation Bluff on Signy Island.

Note that a metre rule is visible as a scale marker in some photographs.

All pictures were taken while James was working for the British Antarctic Suvey in the 1970s.

For a full description of this habitat see the paper by James Fenton & Ron Lewis Smith, 1982
Distribution, composition and general characteristics of the moss banks of the maritime Antarctic.
British Antarctic Survey Bulletin Vol. 51

For a full description of the mosses of Antarctica see:

The Illustrated Moss Flora of Antarctica

Edited by Ryszard Ochyra, Ronald I. Lewis Smith & Halina Bednarek-Ochyra

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008.

ISBN 978-0-521-81402-7, 685 pp.