Climate change is contributing to the growth of Antarctic fungal varieties, which may help invasive species gain a foothold in the pristine wilderness, scientists say.
Researchers from Britain and the Universities of Western Australia and Queensland surveyed 1650km of the maritime Antarctic, predicting an increase of up to 27 per cent in fungal species by the end of the century.
Author Paul Dennis told AAP the research proved temperature change was the main factor that determined soil fungal diversity and could affect soil nutrients.
"It is important because this is the most rapidly warming part of Antarctica and out of everything that we measured to try and understand what controls fungal diversity, we've found temperature is the key thing," Dr Dennis said.
"Given that the region is warming, that means the communities are already changing and will continue to change."