Above picture:  A House Mouse on Marion Island in 2015; photograph by Ben Dilley

Prof. Werner Nel (Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa) and colleagues, all Marion Island researchers,  have published a short note in the journal Antarctic Science on the rate of warming in the sub-Antarctic region in the 21st Century, summarizing the landscape and ecosystem responses to the increased warming.  They consider that the islands that constitute the ‘core’ of the sub-Antarctic region are South Georgia, Marion and Prince Edward Islands, the archipelagos of Crozet and Kerguelen, Heard and McDonald Islands and Macquarie Island.

The short note states that Macquarie, Kerguelen and Marion Islands have warmed by between 0.8°C and 1.7°C since the mid-20th Century.  Over the period 1950-2021 mean annual air temperature at Marion Island was 5.4°C; from 2001 to 2021 it was 6°C.  Predicted mean annual air temperature at Marion in 2050 is 6.7-7.2°C.

The authors conclude: “Invasive vertebrates pose a significant risk to the ecology of sub-Antarctic islands, as shown by the impacts of the mice currently existing on Marion Island on ecosystem structure and functioning and on the predation on seabirds.  Under an increasingly warming climate, the risk posed by invasive species to the ecology of the sub-Antarctic islands is predicted to intensify.  The effective implementation of biosecurity measures for the sub-Antarctic islands is becoming progressively more crucial.”


Nel, W., Hedding, D.W. & Rudolph, E.M. 2023.  The sub-Antarctic islands are increasingly warming in the 21st century.  Antarctic Science 35: 124-126.


John Cooper, News Correspondent, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 06 June 2023


A portrait of a Grey-headed Albatross on Marion Island; photograph by John Dickens, poster design by Michelle Risi

The Mouse-Free Marion Project is a registered non-profit company (No. 2020/922433/08) in South Africa, established to eradicate the invasive albatross-killing mice on Marion Island in the Southern Ocean.  The project was initiated by BirdLife South Africa and the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.  Upon successful completion, the project will restore the critical breeding habitat of over two million seabirds, many globally threatened, and improve the island’s resilience to a warming climate.  For more information or to support the project please visit mousefreemarion.org.