Biodiversity and the Poles

Background, overviews and illustrations on the variety and abundance of plants and animals in the Arctic and Antarctica, and on threats to polar biodiversity and related research and conservations actions. 

Download in PDF format [46 MB]
Download in PNG format [2.5 MB]
Download in JPEG format [0.6 MB]
View on Scribd

Norwegian (bokmål)
Download in PDF format [47 MB]
Download in PNG format [2.7 MB]
Download in JPEG format [0.5 MB]
View on Scribd

Maps & graphics in this poster:
Please see each illustration for full references, credit, reference instruction, download of files and feedback form.

Life in the Arctic and Antarctica is unique. There are relatively few species in the polar regions compared to the lower latitudes, but they are often very abundant. Although they are adapted to the harsh polar environment, both plants and animals are usually less specialized than species elsewhere. In the past this has allowed them to change with changing ecological conditions.

Many species have been lost in the past and many new species have appeared. However, species are currently being lost at a very fast and increasing rate, mainly due to human activities.

The Poster Series

The posters address the question: "Why, and how, are the polar regions and polar research important to all people on Earth?" These posters present and illustrate a broad sample of polar issues and facts -- they are a "textbook" for your wall.

There are five posters, with high-school age students as the main target group. Each poster stands on its own but is recognizable as part of the series through the common design and elements. All the posters include illustrations and text highlighting the human dimension of the poster theme -- showing how people are affected by polar science and issues and why they should care. The lifespan of the content is not limited to the IPY period (March 2007 - March 2009) -- we hope that these posters will be useful and used beyond this period.

This poster is ready to print and can be downloaded for free and unrestricted use.


Concept, text and editing
Heather Main and Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal

Maps and charts
Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal and others (please see respective map for full details).

Photo credits
From top right, clockwise:

  • Michael Kuiper
  • palestrina55/flickr
  • G. Henry
  • flickr
  • H. Main
  • flickr
  • Alberto Lindner, NOAA
  • Peter Prokosch, WWF

To find out more about the issues presented in this poster, a few suggested links

  • GRID-Arendal Polar Programme
  • Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA)