Antarctica terrestrial life

Uncover the hidden moss and lichen ecosystems of the remote Antarctic Peninsula

The last continent to be touched by mankind

We know Antarctica as a wild continent with oceans full of life contrasting the desolate mountains and ice fields on land. Here no life can’t exist, or so we think. But Antarctica has been keeping a secret from us. Below the snow and ice lie ancient ecosystems of mosses, lichens, springtails and mites. Unchanged for eons they now face a rapidly shifting world. Mankind and its influence is coming to Antarctica.
In this story we follow the always cheerful ecologist Stef Bokhorst. It’s year 15 of his terrestrial ecosystem research in the Antarctic. He braces blizzards and massive snow banks with a grin and a whistle because he knows that the islands of the Peninsula are surprisingly colorful on the micro scale. Species of lichens and mosses capture moisture from rain and nitrogen from sea elephant poo miles away. Springtails, which Stef dubs the ‘Antarctic cows’ are only 4mm but at large in their amounts. Their fierce predatory mites are even smaller at 3mm. Together all these species have masterfully adapted to one of the most extreme environments on this planet.
With this production we convince policymakers to take Stef’s science into account. We educate students with examples of ecosystems never before used  in the classroom. Finally we inspire a broader audience about why this research is important and what actual science in the field feels like.

VU Amsterdam

ABC Project


  • Educational series
  • Short-film for policy makers
  • Short documentary


In production

Unknown fragile ecosystems need protection