Is there life in Antarctica?« Back to Questions List

 Antarctica is the fifth largest continent. It is a land mass located around south pole and 99.5% of it is covered with ice. The region is the coldest and bleakest part of the earth. The temperature is always below freezing temperature and can drop as low as minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit during winter. The warmest period is from November to February. There isn’t much rainfall and its snow is dry and powdery. Surrounded by world’s roughest seas, it experiences cold winds and blizzards.


Such cold weather is not hospitable to animals and humans. The only plants that exist there are simplest forms – a few mosses, lichens, fungi and algae. The Antarctic Sea is rich with life, unlike the land, and the life forms that survive do so because they get their food from the southern oceans that are full of nutrients and protein. Organisms that get food from the sea are Seabirds, seals, penguins, and whales. These life forms consume enormous quantities of fish, squid, and krill.

The most famous Penguin birds live in colonies, shores and feeds from the sea. There are seventeen different species of Penguins; few of them breed on the Antarctic mainland. Most of the others live on rocky islands in the Antarctic Ocean.


As there are no human inhabitants, the continent is reserved purely for scientific research according to Antarctic Treaty of 1959. Treaty also ensures a ban on military activity there. The Antarctic region can be reached by land, sea or air. Popular tourist activities include cruises, visits to research sites. Adventurous travelers can sign up for hiking, mountaineering, kayaking or cross-country skiing. 


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