The Antarctic Peninsula, known as O'Higgins Land in Chile, Tierra de San Martin in Argentina, known as the Palmer Peninsula in the US and as Graham Land in Great Britain, is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica, located at the base of the Southern Hemisphere. At the surface, it is the biggest, most prominent peninsula in Antarctica as it extends 1,300 km from a line between Cape Adams and a point on the mainland south of Eklund Islands. Beneath the ice sheet which covers it, the Antarctic Peninsula consists of a string of bedrock islands, they are joined together by a grounded ice sheet. Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America, lies only about 1,000 km away across the Drake Passage; the Antarctic Peninsula is dotted with numerous research stations and nations have made multiple claims of sovereignty. The peninsula is part of disputed and overlapping claims by Argentina and the United Kingdom. None of these claims have international recognition and, under the Antarctic Treaty System, the respective countries do not attempt to enforce their claims.
The British claim is recognised though by Australia, New Zealand and Norway. Argentina has the most personnel stationed on the peninsula; the most first sighting of the Antarctic Peninsula, therefore of the whole Antarctic mainland, was on 27 January 1820 by an expedition of the Russian Imperial Navy led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. But the party did not recognize as the mainland what they thought was an icefield covered by small hillocks. Three days on 30 January 1820, Edward Bransfield and William Smith, with a British expedition, were the first to chart part of the Antarctic Peninsula; this area was to be called Trinity Peninsula and is the extreme northeast portion of the peninsula. The next confirmed sighting was in 1832 by John Biscoe, a British explorer, who named the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula as Graham Land; the first European to land on the continent is disputed. A 19th-century seal hunter, John Davis, was certainly the first. But, sealers were secretive about their movements and their logbooks were deliberately unreliable, to protect any new sealing grounds from competition.
Between 1901 and 1904, Otto Nordenskiöld led the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, one of the first expeditions to explore parts of Antarctica. They landed on the Antarctic Peninsula in February 1902, aboard the ship Antarctic, which sank not far from the peninsula. All crew were saved, they were rescued by an Argentine ship. The British Graham Land Expedition between 1934 and 1937 carried out aerial surveys and concluded that Graham Land was not an archipelago but a peninsula. Agreement on the name "Antarctic Peninsula" by the US-ACAN and UK-APC in 1964 resolved a long-standing difference over the use of the United States' name "Palmer Peninsula" or the British name "Graham Land" for this geographic feature; this dispute was resolved by making Graham Land the part of the Antarctic Peninsula northward of a line between Cape Jeremy and Cape Agassiz. Palmer Land is named for the United States seal hunter Nathaniel Palmer; the Chilean name for the feature, O'Higgins Land, is in honor of Bernardo O'Higgins, the Chilean patriot and Antarctic visionary.
Most other Spanish-speaking countries call it la Península Antártica, though Argentina officially refers to this as Tierra de San Martín. Other portions of the peninsula are named by and after the various expeditions that discovered them, including the Bowman Coast, the Black Coast, the Danco Coast, the Davis Coast, the English Coast, the Fallieres Coast, Loubet Land, the Nordenskjold Coast and the Wilkins Coast; the first Antarctic research stations were established during World War II by a British military operation, Operation Tabarin. The 1950s saw a marked increase in the number of research bases as Britain and Argentina competed to make claims over the same area. Meteorology and geology were the primary research subjects. Since the peninsula has the mildest climate in Antarctica, the highest concentration of research stations on the continent can be found there, or on the many nearby islands, it is the part of Antarctica most visited by tour vessels and yachts. Occupied bases include Base General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, Bellingshausen Station, Comandante Ferraz Brazilian Antarctic Base, Rothera Research Station and San Martín Base.
Today on the Antarctic Peninsula there are many abandoned military bases. Argentina's Esperanza Base was the birthplace of Emilio Marcos Palma, the first person to be born in Antarctica; the grounding of the Argentine ship the ARA Bahía Paraíso and subsequent 170,000 US gal oil spill occurred near the Antarctic Peninsula in 1989. The peninsula is mountainous, its highest peaks rising to about 2,800 m. Notable peaks on the peninsula include Mount Castro, Mount Coman, Mount Gilbert, Mount Jackson, Mount Hope, the highest point at 3,239 m, Mount William, Mount Owen and Mount Scott; these mountains are considered to be a continuation of the Andes of South America, with a submarine spine or ridge connecting the two. This is the basis for the position advanced by Argentina for their territorial claims; the Scotia Arc is the island arc system that links the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula to those of Tierra del Fuego. There are various volcanoes in the islands around the Antarctic Peninsula; this volcanism is related to extensional tecton
South Orkney Islands
The South Orkney Islands are a group of islands in the Southern Ocean, about 604 kilometres north-east of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and 844 kilometres south-west of South Georgia Island. They have a total area of about 620 square kilometres; the islands are claimed both by Britain, by Argentina as part of Argentine Antarctica. Under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, sovereignty claims are held in abeyance. Britain and Argentina both maintain bases on the islands; the Argentine base, established 1904, is sited on Laurie Island. The 11 buildings of the Argentine station house up to 45 people during the summer, an average of 14 during winter; the British Antarctic Survey base, Signy Research Station, is located on Signy Island and was established in 1947. Operated year-round, since 1995/6 the Signy Research Station has been open only from November to April each year. Apart from personnel at the bases, there are no permanent inhabitants on the islands; the South Orkney Islands were discovered in 1821 by two sealers, the American Nathaniel Brown Palmer and the British George Powell.
The Islands were named Powell's Group, with the main island named Coronation Island as it was the year of the coronation of King George IV. In 1823, James Weddell visited the Islands, gave the archipelago its present name and renamed some of the islands; the South Orkney Islands are located at the same latitude south as the Orkney Islands are north, although it is not known if this was a factor behind the naming of the islands. Subsequently, the islands were visited by sealers and whalers, but no thorough survey was done until the expedition of William Speirs Bruce on the Scotia in 1903, which overwintered at Laurie Island. Bruce surveyed the islands, reverted some of Weddell's name changes, established a meteorological station, sold to the Argentine Government upon his departure in 1904; this base, renamed Orcadas in 1951, is still in operation today and is thus the oldest research station continuously staffed in the Antarctic. In 1908, the United Kingdom declared sovereignty over various Antarctic and South American territories "to the south of the 50th parallel of south latitude, lying between the 20th and the 80th degrees of west longitude", including the South Orkney Islands.
The Islands were subsequently administered as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. A biological research station on Signy Island was built in 1947 by the British Antarctic Survey, was staffed year-round until 1996, when the Station staffing was reduced to 8-10 personnel who remained only during the southern hemisphere summer. In 1962, the islands became part of the newly established British Antarctic Territory; the Argentine claim to the islands dates from 1925. It was justified by the Argentine occupation of the Laurie Island base and subsumed into a wider territorial claim; the islands are situated at latitudes about 60°30' to 60°48' S and longitudes 44°25' to 46°43' W in the Southern Ocean. As a group of islands, the South Orkney Islands are at 60°35′S 045°30′W; the archipelago comprises four main islands. Coronation Island is the largest, measuring about 30 miles long. Laurie Island is the easternmost of the islands; the other main islands are Signy. Smaller islands in the group include Robertson Islands, the Saddle Islands, Acuña Island.
The total area of the archipelago is about 240 square miles. The Inaccessible Islands about 15 nmi to the west are considered part of the South Orkneys; the climate of the South Orkneys is cold and windy. Summers are short and cold when the average temperatures reach about 3.5 °C and fall to about −12.8 °C in July. The all time temperature range is between 12 and −44 °C; the seas around the islands are ice-covered from late April to November. South Orkney Trough is an undersea trough named in association with the South Orkney Islands and approved 10/77. Despite the harsh conditions the islands do support vegetation and are part of the Scotia Sea Islands tundra ecoregion, along with South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the South Shetland Islands and Bouvet Island. All these islands lie in the cold seas below the Antarctic convergence; these areas support tundra vegetation consisting of mosses and algae, while seabirds and seals feed in the surrounding waters. The littoral zone of the South Orkneys is biologically either lifeless or poor.
Amphipods and planarians exist under rocks, along with various algaes and some gastropods. With increasing water depth, life becomes more varied: starfish appear beyond 2-3 meters along with sponges and ascidians. At 8-10 meters the variety of starfish increases along with the general biomass, below 30 meters there are vast colonies of these creatures. Two penguin species, Chinstrap and Adélie, are present on land; the two claimant nations maintain research stations on the islands. Argentina Orcadas Base, Laurie Island United Kingdom Signy Research Station, Signy Island Description of Bruce's expedition Images Argentine Government Website with a map of the South Orkney Islands
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica, on average, is the coldest and windiest continent, has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast and far less inland; the temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C, though the average for the third quarter is −63 °C. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, fungi, plants and certain animals, such as mites, penguins and tardigrades.
Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf; the continent, remained neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of accessible resources, isolation. In 1895, the first confirmed. Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, thirty-eight have signed it since then; the treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations; the name Antarctica is the romanised version of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική, feminine of ἀνταρκτικός, meaning "opposite to the Arctic", "opposite to the north".
Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c. 350 BC Marinus of Tyre used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century CE. The Roman authors Hyginus and Apuleius used for the South Pole the romanised Greek name polus antarcticus, from which derived the Old French pole antartike attested in 1270, from there the Middle English pol antartik in a 1391 technical treatise by Geoffrey Chaucer. Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was used for other locations that could be defined as "opposite to the north". For example, the short-lived French colony established in Brazil in the 16th century was called "France Antarctique"; the first formal use of the name "Antarctica" as a continental name in the 1890s is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. The long-imagined south polar continent was called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to'Australia' as seen in a woodcut illustration titled Sphere of the winds, contained in an astrological textbook published in Frankfurt in 1545.
Although the longer Latin phrase was better known, the shortened name Australia was used in Europe's scholarly circles. In the nineteenth century, the colonial authorities in Sydney removed the Dutch name from New Holland. Instead of inventing a new name to replace it, they took the name Australia from the south polar continent, leaving it nameless for some eighty years. During that period, geographers had to make do with clumsy phrases such as "the Antarctic Continent", they searched for a more poetic replacement, suggesting various names such as Antipodea. Antarctica was adopted in the 1890s. Antarctica has no indigenous population, there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century. However, in February 1775, during his second voyage, Captain Cook called the existence of such a polar continent "probable" and in another copy of his journal he wrote:" believe it and it's more than probable that we have seen a part of it". However, belief in the existence of a Terra Australis—a vast continent in the far south of the globe to "balance" the northern lands of Europe and North Africa—had prevailed since the times of Ptolemy in the 1st century AD.
In the late 17th century, after explorers had found that South America and Australia were not part of the fabled "Antarctica", geographers believed that the continent was much larger than its actual size. Integral to the story of the origin of Antarctica's name is that it was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia instead, because of the misconception that no significant landmass could exist further south. Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has been credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia, he justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra Australis by writing in the introduction: There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will be found in a more southern latitude.
Deschampsia is a genus of plants in the grass family known as hair grass or tussock grass. The genus is widespread across many countries; the genus is named for naturalist Louis Auguste Deschamps. Deschampsia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera, including antler moth, the clay, clouded-bordered brindle, common wainscot, dark arches, dusky brocade, shoulder-striped wainscot, smoky wainscot and wall. Deschampsia sometimes grow in boggy acidic formations, an example of, the Portlethen Moss, Scotland. Deschampsia antarctica is the world's most southern monocot, one of only two flowering plants of Antarctica; some species — notably D. cespitosa and D. flexuosa — are grown as ornamental garden plants. Deschampsia airiformis Benth. & Hook.f. Ex B. D. Jacks. - Chile, Argentina Deschampsia angusta Stapf & C. E. Hubb. - Zaire, Uganda Deschampsia antarctica E. Desv. - Chile, Antarctica, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Crozet Islands, Heard-McDonald Islands, Kerguelen Islands, South Sandwich Islands Deschampsia argentea Lowe - Azores, Canary Islands Deschampsia atropurpurea Scheele - northern Eurasia, North America, Argentina Deschampsia baicalensis Tzvelev - Irkutsk Deschampsia berteroniana F.
Meigen - Chile, Argentina Deschampsia bottnica Trin. - Kvarken Archipelago Deschampsia cespitosa P. Beauv. - temperate, subarctic, + alpine regions in North America, Africa, various islands Deschampsia chapmanii Petrie - New Zealand incl Antipodes, Macquarie Islands Deschampsia christophersenii C. E. Hubb. - Tristan da Cunha Deschampsia cordillerarum Hauman - Chile, Argentina Deschampsia danthonioides Munro – Annual hairgrass - Alaska, British Columbia, western USA, Mexico Deschampsia elongata Munro - Chile, United States including Alaska, Mexico Deschampsia flexuosa Trin - Eurasia, alpine areas in Africa. - Azores Deschampsia gracillima Kirk New Zealand including Antipodes, Tasmania Deschampsia kingii É. Desv. - Chile, Argentina Deschampsia klossii Ridl. - Lesser Sunda Islands, New Guinea Deschampsia koelerioides Regel - Siberia, Central Asia, Mongolia, Pakistan Deschampsia laxa Phil. - Chile, Argentina Deschampsia leskovii Tzvelev - northern European Russia Deschampsia liebmanniana Hitchc. - Mexico Deschampsia ligulata Henrard - Borneo Deschampsia looseriana Parodi - Chile Deschampsia maderensis Buschm.
- Madeira Deschampsia media Roem. & Schult. - central + southern Europe, Caucasus Deschampsia mejlandii C. E. Hubb. - Tristan da Cunha Deschampsia mendocina Parodi - Argentina †Deschampsia mexicana Scribn. - Mexico extinct Deschampsia mildbraedii Pilg. - Cameroon Deschampsia nubigena Hillebr. - Hawaii Deschampsia parvula É. Desv. - Chile, Falkland Islands, Anvers Island Deschampsia patula Skottsb. - Chile, Argentina Deschampsia pusilla Petrie - New Zealand South Island Deschampsia robusta C. E. Hubb. - Tristan da Cunha Deschampsia setacea Hack. - northern + western Europe Deschampsia tenella Petrie - New Zealand Deschampsia venustula Parodi - Chile, Argentina Deschampsia wacei C. E. Hubb.- Tristan da Cunha Deschampsia included many species now placed in other genera: Aira, Bromus, Centropodia, Dissanthelium, Periballia, Poa and Vahlodea. USDA Plants Profile for Deschampsia Calflora Database: Deschampsia Jepson eFlora, The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley Grass Manual Treatment "Gold Fever" — descriptions of gold or yellow leaved Deschampsia
In plant taxonomy, commelinids is a name used by the APG IV system for a clade within the monocots, which in its turn is a clade within the angiosperms. The commelinids are the only clade; the remaining monocots are a paraphyletic unit. Known as the commelinid monocots it forms one of three groupings within the monocots, the final branch, the other two groups being the alismatid monocots and the lilioid monocots. Members of the commelinid clade have cell walls containing UV-fluorescent ferulic acid; the commelinids were first recognized as a formal group in 1967 by Armen Takhtajan, who named them the Commelinidae and assigned them as a subclass to Liliopsida. The name was used in the 1981 Cronquist system. However, by the release of his 1980 system of classification, Takhtajan had merged this subclass into a larger one, no longer considered to be a clade. In the Takhtajan system treated this as one of six subclasses within the class Liliopsida, it consisted of: subclass Commelinidae superorder Bromelianae order Bromeliales order Velloziales superorder Pontederianae order Philydrales order Pontederiales order Haemodorales superorder Zingiberanae order Musales order Lowiales order Zingiberales order Cannales superorder Commelinanae order Commelinales order Mayacales order Xyridales order Rapateales order Eriocaulales superorder Hydatellanae order Hydatellales superorder Juncanae order Juncales order Cyperales superorder Poanae order Flagellariales order Restionales order Centrolepidales order Poales The Cronquist system treated this as one of four subclasses within the class Liliopsida.
It consisted of: subclass Commelinidae order Commelinales order Eriocaulales order Restionales order Juncales order Cyperales order Hydatellales order Typhales The APG II system does not use formal botanical names above the rank of order. The commelinids now constitute a well-supported clade within the monocots, this clade has been recognized in all four APG classification systems; the commelinids of APG II and APG III contain the same plants as the commelinoids of the earlier APG system. In APG IV the family Dasypogonaceae is no longer directly placed under commelinids but instead a family of order Arecales. Media related to Commelinids at Wikimedia Commons
South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands with a total area of 3,687 square kilometres. They lie about 120 kilometres north of the Antarctic Peninsula, between 430 kilometres to 900 kilometres south-west from the nearest point of the South Orkney Islands. By the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the islands' sovereignty is neither recognized nor disputed by the signatories and they are free for use by any signatory for non-military purposes; the islands have been claimed by the United Kingdom since 1908 and as part of the British Antarctic Territory since 1962. They are claimed by the governments of Chile and by Argentina. Several countries maintain research stations on the islands. Most of them are situated on King George Island, benefitting from the airfield of the Chilean base Eduardo Frei. There are sixteen research stations to date in different parts of the islands, with Chilean stations being the greatest in number; the islands were discovered by the British mariner William Smith in 1819.
Although it has been postulated that Dutch mariner Dirck Gerritsz in 1599 or Spanish Admiral Gabriel de Castilla in 1603 might have sighted the South Shetlands, or North or South American sealers might have visited the archipelago before Smith, there is insufficient historical evidence to sustain such assertions. Smith’s discovery, by contrast, was well documented and had wider historical implications beyond its geographic significance. Chilean scientists have claimed that Amerinds visited the islands, due to stone artifacts recovered from bottom-sampling operations in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Discovery Bay, Greenwich Island. In 1818 Juan Pedro de Aguirre obtained permission from the Buenos Aires authorities to establish a base for sealing on "some of the uninhabited islands near the South Pole". Captain William Smith in the British merchant brig Williams, while sailing to Valparaíso, Chile in 1819 deviated from his route south of Cape Horn, on 19 February sighted Williams Point, the northeast extremity of Livingston Island.
Thus Livingston Island became the first land discovered farther than 60° south. Smith revisited the South Shetlands, landed on King George Island on 16 October 1819, claimed possession for Britain. Meanwhile, the Spanish Navy ship San Telmo sank in September 1819 whilst trying to go through the Drake Passage. Parts of her presumed wreckage were found months by sealers on the north coast of Livingston Island. From December 1819 to January 1820, the islands were surveyed and mapped by Lieutenant Edward Bransfield on board the Williams, chartered by the Royal Navy. On 15 November 1819 the United States agent in Valparaíso, Jeremy Robinson, informed the US Secretary of State John Quincy Adams of Smith's discovery and Bransfield's forthcoming mission, suggested dispatching a US Navy ship to explore the islands where "new sources of wealth and happiness would be disclosed and science itself be benefited thereby." The discovery of the islands attracted American sealers. The first sealing ship to operate in the area was the brig Espirito Santo, chartered by British merchants in Buenos Aires.
The ship arrived at Rugged Island off Livingston Island, where its British crew landed on Christmas Day 1819, claimed the islands for King George III. A narrative of the events was published by the brig's master, Joseph Herring, in the July 1820 edition of the Imperial Magazine; the Espirito Santo was followed from the Falkland Islands by the American brig Hersilia, commanded by Captain James Sheffield, the first US sealer in the South Shetlands. The first wintering over in Antarctica took place on the South Shetlands, when at the end of the 1820–21 summer season eleven British men from the ship Lord Melville failed to leave King George Island, survived the winter to be rescued at the beginning of the next season. Having circumnavigated the Antarctic continent, the Russian Antarctic expedition of Fabian von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev arrived at the South Shetlands in January 1821; the Russians surveyed the islands and named them, landing on both King George Island and Elephant Island.
While sailing between Deception and Livingston islands, Bellingshausen was visited by Nathaniel Palmer, master of the American brig Hero, who informed him of the activities of dozens of American and British sealing ships in the area. The name "New South Britain" was used but was soon changed to South Shetland Islands; the name South Shetland Islands is now established in international usage. Both island groups lie at similar distances from the equator, but the South Shetlands are much colder. Seal hunting and whaling was conducted on the islands during the early 20th century; the sealing era lasted from 1820 to 1908 during which time 197 vessels are recorded visiting the islands. Twelve of those vessels were wrecked. Relics of the sealing era include hut ruins and inscriptions. Beginning in 1908, the islands were governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependency, but they have only been permanently occupied by humans since the establishment of a scientific research station in 1944; the archipelago, together with the nearby Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia Island, is an popular tourist destination during the southern summer.
As a group of islands, the South Shetland Islands are located at 62°0′S 58°0′W. They are within the region 61 ° 00' -- 63 ° 53 ° 83' -- 62 ° 83' West; the islands lie 940 km (58
The Antarctic flora is a distinct community of vascular plants which evolved millions of years ago on the supercontinent of Gondwana. It is now found on several separate areas of the Southern Hemisphere, including southern South America, southernmost Africa, New Zealand and New Caledonia. Joseph Dalton Hooker was the first to notice similarities in the flora and speculated that Antarctica had served as either a source or a transitional point, that land masses now separated may have been adjacent. Based on the similarities in their flora, botanist Ronald D'Oyley Good identified a separate Antarctic Floristic Kingdom that included southern South America, New Zealand, some southern island groups. In addition, Australia was determined to be its own floristic kingdom because of the influx of tropical Eurasian flora that had supplanted the Antarctic flora and included New Guinea and New Caledonia in the Paleotropical floristic kingdom. Millions of years ago, Antarctica was warmer and much wetter and was able to support the Antarctic flora, including forests of podocarps and southern beech.
Antarctica was part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, which broke up by plate tectonics starting 110 million years ago. The separation of South America from Antarctica 30–35 million years ago allowed the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to form, which isolated Antarctica climatically and caused it to become much colder; the Antarctic flora subsequently died out in Antarctica, but is still an important component of the flora of southern Neotropic and Australasia, which were former parts of Gondwana. Some genera which originated in Antarctic Flora are still recognized as major components of New Caledonia, Madagascar, New Zealand, southern South America. South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica were all part of the supercontinent Gondwana, which started to break up in the early Cretaceous period. India was the first to break away, followed by Africa, New Zealand, which started to drift north. By the end of the Cretaceous, South America and Australia were still joined to Antarctica.
Paleontologist Gilbert Brenner identified the emergence of a distinct southern Gondwanan flora by the late Cretaceous period in the cooler and humid southern hemisphere regions of Australia, southern South America, southern Africa and New Zealand. A drier northern Gondwanan flora had developed in northern South northern Africa. Africa and India drifted north into the tropical latitudes, became hotter and drier, connected with the Eurasian continent. Today, the flora of India have few remnants of the Antarctic flora. Australia became drier as well. Humans arrived in Australia 50–60,000 years ago and used fire to reshape the vegetation of the continent; the woody plants of the Antarctic flora include conifers in the families Podocarpaceae and the subfamily Callitroideae of Cupressaceae, angiosperms such as the families Proteaceae, Cunoniaceae, Atherospermataceae, Winteraceae, genera like southern beech and fuchsia. Many other families of flowering plants and ferns, including the tree fern Dicksonia, are characteristic of the Antarctic flora.
Investigations of Upper Cretaceous and Early Tertiary sediments of Antarctica yield a rich assemblage of well-preserved fossil dicotyledonous angiosperm wood which provides evidence for the existence, since the Late Cretaceous, of temperate forests similar in composition to those found in present-day southern South America, New Zealand and Australia. It is suggested a paleobotanical habitat similar to the extant cool temperate Valdivian rainforests. There are two conifer and at least seven angiosperm morphotypes recorded in the Antarctica palaeoflora. Conifers include Cupressinoxylon, the more common, Podocarpoxylon; the angiosperm component includes two species of Nothofagoxylon, one species of Myrceugenelloxylon, one species of Weinmannioxylon. Two other species are assigned to genera Atherospermoxylon; the continent of Antarctica itself has been too cold and dry to support any vascular plants for millions of years. The scanty vegetation of Antarctica is a result of the chilling temperature, lack of sunlight, little rainfall, inferior soil quality and lack of moisture, due to the inability of the plants to absorb water available in the form of ice.
Antarctica's extant flora presently consists of around 250 lichens, 100 mosses, 25-30 liverworts, around 700 terrestrial and aquatic algal species. Two flowering plants, Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis, are found on the northern and western parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. Species of moss endemic to Antarctica include Grimmia antarctici, Schistidium antarctici, Sarconeurum glaciale Cox, C. Barry, Peter D. Moore. Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford. Plants — Australian Antarctic Division Plants — British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council The Plants of Antarctica, a blog by Caitlyn Bishop, Ocea