Marine Biodiversity and Sustainability

    A preliminary assessment of threats to Arctic marine mammals and their conservation in the coming decades

    H.P. Huntington. Marine Policy (2009) 33(1):77-82. Over the next several decades, arctic marine mammals will face threats from six areas of human influence: climate change, environmental contaminants, offshore oil and gas activities, shipping, hunting, and commercial fisheries. This paper reviews these factors, the nature and magnitude of the threats they pose, current scientific understanding and management of those threats, and the potential for effective conservation action.

    A review of apparent 20th century changes in the presence of mussels (Mytilus trossulus) and macroalgae in Arctic Alaska, and of historical and paleontological evidence used to relate mollusc distributions to climate change

    H.M. Feder et al. Arctic (2003) 56(4):391-407. Live mussels attached to fresh laminarioid brown algae, all fastened to clusters of pebbles and small cobbles, were repeatedly cast ashore by autumn storms at Barrow, Alaska, in the 1990s. (PDF, 1.07 MB)

    Abyssal food limitation, ecosystem structure and climate change

    C.R. Smith et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2008) 23(9):518-528. The abyssal seafloor covers more than 50% of the earth and is postulated to be both a reservoir of biodiversity and a source of important ecosystem services. Climate change and human activities (e.g., successful ocean fertilization) will alter patterns of sinking food flux to the deep ocean, substantially impacting the structure, function, and biodiversity of abyssal ecosystems.

    Accelerated warming and emergent trends in fisheries biomass yields of the world's large marine ecosystems

    K. Sherman et al. Pages 41-79 of UNEP Large Marine Ecosystems Report, United Nations Environment Programme, 2009. Results are presented of a global study of the impact of sea surface temperature (SST) changes over the past 25 years on the fisheries yields of 63 large marine ecosystems (LMEs) that annually produce 80% of the world's marine fisheries catches. (PDF, 5.3 MB)

    Adapting to climate change: A perspective from evolutionary physiology

    S.L. Chown et al. Climate Research (2010) 43:3-15. Although perhaps not as well developed as correlative approaches to understanding species responses to change, mechanistic approaches are advancing rapidly. In this review, the authors explore several of the key messages emerging from the mechanistic approach, embodied in evolutionary physiology, to understanding and forecasting species responses to climate change. (PDF, 383 KB)

    An integrated study of economic effects of, and vulnerabilities to, global warming on the Barents Sea cod fisheries

    A. Eide. Climatic Change (2008) 87(1-2):251-262. One factor of particular importance for the natural annual biological variations is the occasional inflow of young herring into the Barents Sea area. The herring inflow is difficult to predict and links to dynamical systems outside the Barents Sea area, complex recruitment mechanisms, and oceanographic conditions.

    An overview of the ecosystems of the Barents and Norwegian seas and their response to climate variability

    H. Loeng, K. Drinkwater. Deep Sea Research II (2007) 54(23-26):2478-2500. The physical oceanography of the Barents and Norwegian seas is dominated by the influx of warm, high-salinity Atlantic waters from the south and cold, low-salinity waters from the Arctic.

    Arctic blooms occurring earlier: Phytoplankton peak arising 50 days early, with unknown impacts on marine food chain and carbon cycling

    Science Daily, March 3, 2011. Warming temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic may be behind a progressively earlier bloom of a crucial annual marine event, and the shift could hold consequences for the entire food chain and carbon cycling in the region.

    Arctic cephalopod distributions and their associated predators

    K. Gardiner, T.A. Dick. Polar Research (2010) 29(2):209-227. Cephalopods are key species of the eastern Arctic marine food web, both as prey and predator. Their presence in the diets of Arctic fish, birds, and mammals illustrates their trophic importance. Understanding species distributions and their interactions within the ecosystem is important to the study of a warming Arctic Ocean and the selection of marine protected areas.

    Arctic fever

    B. Barcott, OnEarth, February 23, 2011. In the far north of Alaska, the fragile food web that supports polar bears and humans alike may be starting to unravel.

    Arctic fisheries conservation and management: Initial steps of reform of the international legal framework

    E.J. Molenaar. Submitted to Yearbook of Polar Law, March 2009. Changes in the arctic climate system extend to arctic marine ecosystems and are likely to create new or expanded fishing opportunities. This article assesses the adequacy of the current international legal and policy framework for Arctic fisheries conservation and management, both substantively and institutionally, in responding to the likely and potential impacts that such new or expanded fishing opportunities could have on target and nontarget species, the broader marine ecosystem, and the livelihoods of indigenous peoples. (PDF, 323 KB, archived webpage)

    Arctic marine ecosystems in an era of rapid climate change

    P. Wassmann (ed.) Progress in Oceanography (2011) 90(1-4):1-131. Selected scientists working throughout the pan-Arctic were asked to summarize their information on the ecology of the pan-Arctic. This volume summarizes available investigations done in the various national sectors or in the Arctic Ocean as a whole. It highlights some of the major ecological questions that are common for the pan-Arctic region as well as the ecological implications of climate change. Papers include: Consequences of changing sea-ice cover for primary and secondary producers in the European Arctic shelf seas: Timing, quantity, and quality (E. Leu et al.) Intra-regional comparison of productivity, carbon flux and ecosystem composition within the northern Barents Sea (M. Reigstad et al.) The influence of climate variability and change on the ecosystems of the Barents Sea and adjacent waters: Review and synthesis of recent studies from the NESSAS Project (K.F. Drinkwater) Closing the loop—Approaches to monitoring the state of the Arctic Mediterranean during the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (C. Mauritzen et al.) Towards recognition of physical and geochemical change in Subarctic and Arctic Seas (E. Carmack, F. McLaughlin) Circum-arctic comparison of the hatching season of polar cod Boreogadus saida: A test of the freshwater winter refuge hypothesis (C. Bouchard, L. Fortier) Evaluating primary and secondary production in an Arctic Ocean void of summer sea ice: An experimental simulation approach (D. Slagstad et al.)

    Arctic marine mammals and climate change

    H.P. Huntington, S.E. Moore (eds.) Ecological Applications (2008) 18(Suppl):S1-S174. This special issue of Ecological Applications contains a series of papers, from several perspectives and disciplines, that help identify the species, characteristics, and regions of greatest vulnerability among Arctic marine mammals: Climate of the Arctic marine environment (J.E. Walsh) The evolution of Arctic marine mammals (C.R. Harington) Zooarchaeology and Arctic marine mammal biogeography, conservation, and management (M.S. Murray) Climate change and the molecular ecology of Arctic marine mammals (G. O'Corry-Crowe) Regional variability in food availability for Arctic marine mammals (B.A. Bluhm, R. Gradinger) Quantifying the sensitivity of Arctic marine mammals to climate-induced habitat change (K.L. Laidre et al.) Effects of climate change on Arctic marine mammal health (K.A. Burek et al.) Marine mammal harvests and other interactions with humans (G.K. Hovelsrud et al.) Sustaining a healthy human-walrus relationship in a dynamic environment: Challenges for comanagement (V. Metcalf, M. Robards) Arctic marine mammals and climate change: Impacts and resilience (S.E. Moore, H.P. Huntington) Conservation of Arctic marine mammals faced with climate change (T.J. Ragen et al.)

    Arctic marine strategic plan

    Arctic Council, November 2004. This strategic plan was conceived at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Inari, Finland, in 2002. Arctic Council Ministers signed a declaration recognizing that "...existing and emerging activities in the Arctic warrant a more coordinated and integrated strategic approach to address the challenges of the Arctic coastal and marine environment...." (PDF, 4.03 MB) A brochure is also available. (PDF, 3 MB)

    Arctic Ocean synthesis: Analysis of climate change impacts in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas with strategies for future research

    Report by the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, December 2008. Beginning at Bering Strait, the Chukchi Sea is the gateway (or pulse-point) into the Arctic where variation in climate will have impacts on the complex interplay of water masses of Pacific origin with those of the central Arctic Ocean, its marginal seas, and the Atlantic Ocean. (PDF, 3.7 MB)

    Arctic sea ice trends and narwhal vulnerability

    K.L. Laidre, M.P. Heide-Jørgensen. Biological Conservation (2005) 121(4):509-517. The narwhal (Monodon monoceros) in Baffin Bay occupies a habitat where reversed (increasing) regional sea ice trends have been detected over 50 years. The authors used a combination of long-term narwhal satellite tracking data and remotely sensed sea ice concentrations to detect localized habitat trends and examine potential vulnerability.

    Arctic sea partially closed to fishing

    NPR's "Day to Day," February 6. 2009. The Arctic ice pack is breaking up. Bad news for the global climate, but good news for commercial fishing fleets looking for untapped sources of wild seafood. Not so fast. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to close the Arctic waters off northern Alaska to fishing. This is in effect until scientists know more about the health and sustainability of the fish living under the now-retreating ice pack.

    Are phytoplankton blooms occurring earlier in the Arctic?

    M. Kahru et al. Global Change Biology (2011) 17(4):1733-1739. Time series of satellite-derived surface chlorophyll-a concentration in 1997-2009 were used to examine for trends in the timing of the annual phytoplankton bloom maximum. Significant trends towards earlier phytoplankton blooms were detected in about 11% of the area of the Arctic Ocean with valid chlorophyll-a data.

    As whales head north, Arctic biologists play catch-up on climate change

    J. Kay, The Daily Climate, March 23, 2010. With climate change transforming the Arctic, biologists are scrambling to understand the impact on gray whales and other creatures living in the region.

    Aspen Institute Arctic Commission Roundtable

    Video from a March 16, 2011, roundtable featuring opening remarks by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and discussion with Aspen Commissioners and Working Group delegates. [1:29:57 min] Also available is a video overview of the Commission on Arctic Climate Change. [7:52 min]

    Atlantic snake pipefish (Entelurus aequoreus) extends its northward distribution range to Svalbard (Arctic Ocean)

    D. Fleischer et al. Polar Biology (2006) 30(10):1359-1362. Ecological forecasts predict the immigration of boreal species into Arctic waters as one consequence of rising sea temperatures. Here, the authors report the finding of Atlantic snake pipefish off the western coast of Spitsbergen at 79&#176N in August 2006. This syngnathid fish species, which was presumed to be confined to waters south of Iceland, has dramatically increased in population size in its core distribution area in the northeastern Atlantic since 2002.

    Atlas of oceans: An ecological survey of underwater life

    J. Farndon, Yale University Press, 2011, 256 pages. Readers are introduced to the diverse array of creatures that inhabit the oceans and seas, and to the nature of the problems they face. Special features focus on the threats to particular animals, plants, and habitats, as well as on specific issues such as overfishing, global warming, and pollution. The book also includes success stories, recommendations for what can be done to preserve ocean ecosystems, and a complete rundown of the most endangered species of marine life.

    Basin-scale coherence in phenology of shrimps and phytoplankton in the North Atlantic Ocean

    P. Koeller et al. Science (2009) 324(5928):791-793. Climate change could lead to mismatches between the reproductive cycles of marine organisms and their planktonic food. The authors tested this hypothesis by comparing shrimp (Pandalus borealis) egg hatching times and satellite-derived phytoplankton bloom dynamics throughout the North Atlantic.

    Benthic community response to ice algae and phytoplankton in Ny&#197lesund, Svalbard

    K.W. McMahon et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2006) 310:1-14. In the Arctic, oceanic primary production is partitioned between ice algae and phytoplankton. Ice algae live both attached to the bottom of sea ice and within the ice column and bloom during spring, while phytoplankton live in the water column and bloom after the ice melts in early summer. Accordingly, sea ice plays a crucial role in mediating many of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that structure the composition of these dominant primary producers. (PDF, 425 KB)

    Biodiversity as an index of regime shift in the eastern Bering Sea

    G.R. Hoff. Fishery Bulletin (2006) 104(2):226-237. Data collected from an annual groundfish survey of the eastern Bering Sea shelf from 1975 to 2002 were used to estimate biomass and biodiversity indexes for two fish guilds: flatfish and roundfish. The trends in biodiversity indexes from this study correlated strongly with the regime shift reported for the late 1970s and 1980s. (PDF, 1.27 MB)

    Bloom dynamics in early opening waters of the Arctic Ocean

    J-E Tremblay et al. Limnology and Oceanography (2006) 51(2):900-912. In much of the Arctic Ocean, the polar night and ice cover impose severe constraints on phytoplankton production. The duration of the production period is sensitive to climate and the extent, thickness, and seasonal melt dynamics of sea ice, but processes that control the timing and magnitude of organic matter production are poorly understood. (PDF, 824 KB)

    Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) seasonal selection of sea ice

    S.H. Ferguson et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2010) 411:285-297. The authors used satellite tracking data from 27 bowhead whales of the Eastern Canada-West Greenland population to test for movement and habitat selection of the highly variable sea ice landscape that encompasses near-complete coverage in winter to near-complete absence in summer. (PDF, 1.61 MB)

    Carbon cycling by seafloor communities on the eastern Beaufort Sea shelf

    P.E. Renaud et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2007) 349(2):248-260. The study region is strongly influenced by the Mackenzie River, and ongoing climate change is likely to result in altered productivity regimes, changes in quality and quantity of available food, and higher levels of sediment deposition. Impacts of these events on benthic community structure and function will likely have repercussions throughout the ecosystem.

    Causes and projections of abrupt climate-driven ecosystem shifts in the North Atlantic

    G. Beaugrand et al. Ecology Letters (2008) 11(11):1157-1168. Marine ecosystems are not equally sensitive to climate change and reveal a critical thermal boundary where a small increase in temperature triggers abrupt ecosystem shifts seen across multiple trophic levels.

    Changes in spawning stock structure strengthen the link between climate and recruitment in a heavily fished cod (Gadus morhua) stock

    G. Ottersen et al. Fisheries Oceanography (2006) 15(3):230-243. The Arcto-Norwegian (or North-east Arctic) cod stock in the Barents Sea is now the largest stock of Atlantic cod. Recruitment to this stock has varied extensively during the past 60 years. There is evidence for fluctuations in climate, particularly sea temperature, being a main cause for this variability.

    Changes in the timing of otolith zone formation in North Sea cod from otolith records: An early indicator of climate-induced temperature stress?

    R.S. Millner et al. Marine Biology (2010) 158(1):21-30. The authors examine the seasonal variation in otolith increment formation in southern North Sea cod as a means of monitoring how changes in sea temperature over the past 20 years have affected cod in the wild.

    Climate and population density drive changes in cod body size throughout a century on the Norwegian coast

    L.A. Rogers et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2011) 108(5):1961-1966. The authors estimated the effects of climate warming on cod lengths and length variability using a unique 91-year time series of more than 100,000 individual juvenile cod lengths from surveys that began in 1919 along the Norwegian Skagerrak coast.

    Climate change and marine plankton

    G.C. Hays et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2005) 20(6):337-344. The authors review the interactions between climate change and plankton communities, focusing on systematic changes in plankton community structure, abundance, distribution, and phenology over recent decades.

    Climate change and the migratory pattern for Norwegian spring-spawning herring: Implications for management

    E.H. Sissener, T. Bjørndal. Marine Policy (2005) 29(4):299-309. Norwegian spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) is a migratory fish stock, and the migratory pattern has changed several times. There seems to be a connection between altering climatic conditions and the size of fish, year-class strength, and the migratory pattern.

    Climate change and the oceans

    Video of a lecture presented as part of Northwestern University's Science Outreach Series: "Global Warming—A Threat to Biodiversity" in October 2005. Presenter Richard A. Feely is director of the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [31:47 min]

    Climate change in the southeastern Bering Sea: Impacts on pollock stocks and implications for the oscillating control hypothesis

    K.O. Coyle et al. Fisheries Oceanography (2011) 20(2):139-156. Observations presented here indicate the need for revision of the oscillating control hypothesis (OCH) to account for shifts in energy flow through differing food-web pathways due to warming and cooling on the southeastern Bering Sea shelf.

    Climate change shifting southern fish north

    Alaska Public Radio's "Alaska News Nightly," July 11, 2011. Alaska fishermen have noticed southern species moving into northern waters in recent years. Now research by American and Canadian fisheries biologists shows climate change is causing the same situation in the Pacific Northwest. (MP3) [2:21 min] This interview requires the use of the Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded from Windows Media Player's Web site at no charge.

    Climate projections for selected large marine ecosystems

    M. Wang et al. Journal of Marine Systems (2010) 79(3-4):258-266. In preparation for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), modeling centers from around the world carried out sets of global climate simulations under various emission scenarios. For this paper, the authors evaluated the models' 20th-century hindcasts of selected variables relevant to several large marine ecosystems and examined 21st-century projections by a subset of these models under the A1B (middle range) emission scenario.

    Climate warming and pikeperch year-class catches in the Baltic Sea

    Z. Pekcan-Hekim et al. Ambio (2011) 40(5):447-456. The authors aimed to study the effects of changing temperature conditions on pikeperch fisheries and distribution based on commercial catch data from the period 1980-2008 in the Finnish coastal areas of the Baltic Sea.

    Climate-related variability in abundance and reproduction of euphausiids in the northern Gulf of Alaska in 1998-2003

    A.I. Pinchuk et al. Progress in Oceanography (2008) 77(2-3):203-216. Interannual variability in abundance of the dominant euphausiids ("krill") was studied in the northern Gulf of Alaska during the production season from 1998 to 2003. (PDF, 2 MB)

    Climatic and biological forcing of the vertical flux of biogenic particles under seasonal Arctic sea ice

    M. Fortier et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2002) 225:1-16. Ice algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and the vertical fluxes of chloropigments and particulate organic carbon (POC) were monitored from May to June/July of 1992, 1994, and 1995 under the ice of Barrow Strait (Canadian Arctic Archipelago). The analysis suggests that strong and early under-ice fluxes of biogenic carbon in spring may become more frequent under the climatic conditions anticipated by general circulation models. (PDF, 251 KB)

    Coastal and marine ecosystems and global climate change: Potential effects on U.S. resources

    Report prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, August 2002. This is the eighth in a series of Pew Center reports examining the potential impacts of climate change on the U.S. environment. It details the likely impacts of climate change over the next century on U.S. coastal and marine ecosystems, including estuaries, coral reefs, and the open ocean. (PDF, 643 KB)

    Comparison of zooplankton vertical migration in an ice-free and a seasonally ice-covered Arctic fjord: An insight into the influence of sea ice cover on zooplankton behavior

    M.I. Wallace et al. Limnology and Oceanography (2010) 55(2):831-845. In this study, the authors report on results obtained from the deployment of autonomous collecting devices to determine the nature and extent of zooplankton migratory behavior at Kongsfjorden and Rijpfjorden, two fjords in the Svalbard Archipelago. Data were obtained continuously and at high levels of temporal resolution over almost two years, from September 2006 to August 2008. (PDF, 7.6 MB)

    Current State & Trends Assessment: Polar Systems, Chapter 25: Polar Systems

    Because of polar amplification of climate change, the ecological impacts of warming are evident earliest and most clearly at high latitudes. In a region of near-pristine wilderness, relationships between ecosystems, species, and environment are more clearly defined than in populated regions where human influences can mask these relationships. This chapter emphasizes the ecological processes that most directly influence human well-being within and outside polar regions. (PDF 993 KB)

    Decreasing ice coverage will reduce the breeding success of Baltic grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) females

    M. Jüssi et al. Ambio (2008) 37(2):80-85. Because indices of life-time net reproductive rate (pup survival) and pup quality (weaning weight and health) were more auspicious on ice as compared with land, diminishing ice fields will lower the fitness of Baltic grey seal females and substantially increase the risk for quasi-extinction.

    Different responses of two common Arctic macrobenthic species (Macoma balthica and Monoporeia affinis) to phytoplankton and ice algae: Will climate change impacts be species specific?

    M-Y Sun et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2009) 376(2):110-121. Recent reductions in sea ice cover and thickness in the Arctic will lead to changes in food supplies for benthic consumers. The authors experimentally assessed responses of two common Arctic macrobenthic species, Macoma balthica (Bivalvia) and Monoporeia affinis (Crustacea) from Kotzebue Sound (Alaska) to varying food materials (phytoplankton and ice algae).

    Dominant diatom species in the Canada Basin in summer 2003, a reported serious melting season

    S. Zheng et al. Polar Record (2011) 47(3):244-261. During the second Chinese National Arctic Research Expedition in summer 2003, sea ice cores and the underlying water were sampled from seven stations in the pack ice zone of the Canada Basin and were examined with a phase contrast microscope. A total of 102 and 78 algal species were identified for the ice cores and the underlying water, respectively, ranking in the middle range among the surveys of the Arctic Ocean up to the present despite seasonal variability.

    Earth's acid test

    Q. Schiermeier, Nature News, March 9, 2011 As the oceans rapidly grow more acidic, scientists are scrambling to discover how marine life is likely to react.

    Ecology of sea lice parasitic on farmed and wild fish

    M.J. Costello. Trends in Parasitology (2006) 22(10):475-483. Sea lice, especially Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus spp., have the greatest economic impact of any parasite in salmonid fish farming and are also a threat to wild salmonids. Louse development rates are strongly dependent on temperature, and increasing mean sea temperatures are likely to increase infestation pressure on farms and wild fish, as well as affecting the geographical distribution of hosts and parasites.

    Ecosystem oceanography for global change in fisheries

    P.M. Cury et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2008) 23(6):338-346. Overexploitation and climate change are increasingly causing unanticipated changes in marine ecosystems, such as higher variability in fish recruitment and shifts in species dominance. An ecosystem-based approach to fisheries attempts to address these effects by integrating populations, food webs, and fish habitats at different scales.

    Effects of climate change and commercial fishing on Atlantic cod Gadus morhua

    N. Mieszkowska et al. Chapter 3, Advances in Marine Biology (2009) 56:213-273. During the course of the last century, populations of Atlantic cod have undergone dramatic declines in abundance across their biogeographic range, leading to debate about the relative roles of climatic warming and overfishing in driving these changes. In this chapter, the authors describe the geographic distributions of this important predator of North Atlantic ecosystems and document extensive evidence for limitations of spatial movement and local adaptation from population genetic markers and electronic tagging.

    Effects of climatic variability on three fishing economies in high-latitude regions: Implications for fisheries policies

    J.R. McGoodwin. Marine Policy (2007) 31(1):40-55. Research exploring how climatic variability impacts fishing economies in high-latitude regions was conducted in south-central Iceland and southwest Alaska during 2001-2004. Important differences were found regarding the economic impacts of climatic variations in the commercial economies in Iceland and Alaska, versus in the native subsistence economies in Alaska.

    Effects of land use, urbanization, and climate variability on coastal eutrophication in the Baltic Sea

    C. Savage et al. Limnology and Oceanography (2010) 55(3):1033-1046. Climate variability has become more important as a factor influencing coastal eutrophication in recent decades, explaining 14% of the variance in the algal data since 1975. Both urban and agricultural sources of nutrients have degraded water quality, illustrating the need for cooperation between stakeholders at regional levels to achieve "good ecological status" in the Baltic coastal environment. (PDF, 1.9 MB)

    Effects of past, present, and future ocean carbon dioxide concentrations on the growth and survival of larval shellfish

    S.C. Talmage, C.J. Gobler. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010) 107(40):17246-17251. The ocean acidification that has occurred during the past two centuries may be inhibiting the development and survival of larval shellfish and contributing to global declines of some bivalve populations.

    Evaluating disease trends in marine ecosystems

    PLoS Biology (2004) 2(4):doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020119. With recent studies suggesting that disease rates throughout the food chain have increased over the past 30 years—and are expected to increase even more, thanks to global climate change—prospects for protecting marine ecosystems depend on understanding the causes and nature of these disease outbreaks.

    Exopolymer alteration of physical properties of sea ice and implications for ice habitability and biogeochemistry in a warmer Arctic

    C. Krembs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2011) 108(9):3653-3658. Following discovery that sea ice contains an abundance of gelatinous extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), the authors examined the effects of algal EPS on the microstructure and salt retention of ice grown from saline solutions containing EPS from a culture of the sea-ice diatom Melosira arctica.

    Exploring ecological changes in Cook Inlet beluga whale habitat though traditional and local ecological knowledge of contributing factors for population decline

    B.T.G. Carter, E.A. Nielsen. Marine Policy (2011) 35(3):299-308. This study documented traditional and local ecological knowledge of Alaska Native subsistence hunters and fishers and commercial fishers through participatory research to explore ecological changes in Cook Inlet over time and to identify potential factors impacting this beluga whale population. Study results identified potential environmental and climate change factors that may indicate an ecosystem regime shift in the Cook Inlet region.

    Fish get hooked on cooler waters

    N. Towie, Nature News, May 12, 2005. Fish are shifting their homes northwards, according to an analysis of North Sea populations. The authors warn that climate change is probably to blame for the move, which could drive some commercially fished species out of the sea completely.

    Fisheries and aquaculture

    Chapter 13 (pages 691-780) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. This chapter identifies the possible effects of climate change on selected fish stocks and fisheries in the Arctic. Arctic fisheries of selected species are described in the northeast Atlantic (i.e., the Barents and Norwegian seas), the waters around Iceland and Greenland, the waters off northeastern Canada, and the Bering Sea. (PDF, 2.33 MB)

    Fisheries and climate

    K.M. Brander. Pages 483-490 of Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, 2nd edition, J.H. Steele et al., eds., Academic Press, 2009. Poleward distribution shifts have occurred since the 1960s and can be attributed to the effects of anthropogenic climate change with a high degree of confidence. These changes may reduce the resilience of exploited stocks, although climate change may also increase productivity in some cases.

    Fluctuations in circumpolar seabird populations linked to climate oscillations

    D.B. Irons et al. Global Change Biology (2008) 14:1455-1463. Negative population trends in seabirds presumably indicate the alteration of underlying food webs. Hence, similar widespread fluctuations in response to climate shifts are likely for other ecosystem components (marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates).

    Food security and marine capture fisheries: Characteristics, trends, drivers and future perspectives

    S.M. Garcia, A.A. Rosenberg. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010) 365(1554):2869-2880. Looking towards 2050, the question is how fisheries governance, and the national and international policy and legal frameworks within which it is nested, will ensure a sustainable harvest, maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and adapt to climate change.

    Footprints of climate change in the Arctic marine ecosystem

    P. Wassmann et al. Global Change Biology (2011) 17(2):1235-1249. This is a review of the published literature on the footprints of climate change impacts in marine Arctic ecosystems reported as of mid-2009.

    Foraging distributions of little auks (Alle alle) across the Greenland Sea: Implications of present and future Arctic climate change

    N. Karnovsky et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2010) 415:283-293. The Arctic is undergoing widespread warming. In order to understand the impact of climate change on Arctic marine food webs, the authors studied the at-sea distribution of foraging little auks in contrasting conditions of the Greenland Sea. (PDF, 1.91 MB)

    Foraminiferal faunal evidence of twentieth-century Barents Sea warming

    L.J. Wilson et al. Holocene (2011) 21(4):527-537. This study aims to reconstruct the climatic changes of the Barents Sea based on benthic foraminifera over approximately the past 1400 years at the decadal to subdecadal scale. Most notably, a series of highly fluctuating temperatures are observed over the past century.

    Forecasting the consequences of climate-driven shifts in human behavior on cetaceans

    S.E. Alter et al. Marine Policy (2010) 34(5):943-954. While climate change is expected to affect cetaceans primarily via loss of habitat and changes in prey availability, additional consequences may result from climate-driven shifts in human behaviors and economic activities. For example, increases in shipping, oil and gas exploration, and fishing due to the loss of Arctic sea ice are highly likely to exacerbate acoustic disturbance, ship strikes, bycatch, and prey depletion for Arctic cetaceans.

    Future climate of the North Pacific Ocean

    J.E. Overland, M. Wang. Eos (2007) 88(16):178,182. Major changes in species distribution and abundance in North Pacific marine ecosystems are often correlated with climatic shifts in the twentieth century. Species affected in the past include halibut in the Gulf of Alaska, sardine near Japan, and various species along the Oregon/California coast. (PDF, 226 KB)

    Future climate-driven shifts in distribution of Calanus finmarchicus

    G. Reygondeau, G. Beaugrand. Global Change Biology (2011) 17(2):756-766. Calanus finmarchicus is a key-structural species of the North Atlantic polar biome. The species plays an important trophic role in subpolar and polar ecosystems as a grazer of phytoplankton and as a prey for higher trophic levels such as the larval stages of many fish species. Here, the authors used a recently developed ecological niche model to assess the ecological niche of C. finmarchicus and characterize its spatial distribution.

    Global change in marine ecosystems

    S.J. Hawkins, L.B. Firth (eds.) Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2011) 400(1-2):1-328. The theme of this special edition of JEMBE is changing marine and coastal ecosystems worldwide. Papers relating to northern regions include: Impacts of climate change in a global hotspot for temperate marine biodiversity and ocean warming (T. Wernberg et al.) Latitudinal variations in the physiology of marine gammarid amphipods (N.M. Whiteley et al.) Kelp distribution in the northwest Atlantic Ocean under a changing climate (A. Merzouka, L.E. Johnson) Temporal variability in the benthos: Does the sea floor function differently over time? (C.L.J. Frid) Variation among northeast Atlantic regions in the responses of zooplankton to climate change: Not all areas follow the same path (N. McGinty et al.) Spreading the risk: Small-scale body temperature variation among intertidal organisms and its implications for species persistence (M.W. Denny et al.) Community ecology in a warming world: The influence of temperature on interspecific interactions in marine systems (R.L. Kordas et al.) Exploring mechanisms linking temperature increase and larval phenology: The importance of variance effects (L. Giménez) Elevated seawater CO2 concentrations impair larval development and reduce larval survival in endangered northern abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana) (R.N. Crim et al.) A framework to study the context-dependent impacts of marine invasions (M.S. Thomsen et al.)

    Global fish production and climate change

    K.M. Brander. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2007) 104(50):19709-10714. There are strong interactions between the effects of fishing and the effects of climate because fishing reduces the age, size, and geographic diversity of populations and the biodiversity of marine ecosystems, making both more sensitive to additional stresses such as climate change.

    Global marine primary production constrains fisheries catches

    E. Chassot et al. Ecology Letters (2010) 13(4):495-505. Global primary production appears to be declining, in some part due to climate variability and change, with consequences for the near future fisheries catches.

    Global phytoplankton decline over the past century

    D.G. Boyce et al. Nature (2010) 466(7306):591-596. Global phytoplankton concentration has declined over the past century, and this decline will need to be considered in future studies of marine ecosystems, geochemical cycling, ocean circulation, and fisheries.

    Global warming: Effects on sea-food security

    D. Pauly, W.W.L. Cheung. Sea Around Us Newsletter (2009) 55:1-5. This article discusses steps the authors used to produce a number of papers on the impact of global warming on marine biodiversity and fisheries and to lay a foundation for future contributions. (PDF, 208 KB)

    Grey seals do not prevent cod recovery in the Baltic Sea

    Science Daily, July 18, 2011. Around ten years ago, the cod stock in the Baltic Sea hit record-low numbers due to overexploitation, oxygen depletion, and decreased salinity. But in recent years, cod numbers have increased due to some good years of cod reproduction, and a fishing management plan with effective regulation of the fisheries. In order to investigate how cod in the Baltic Sea can be affected by grey seals, climate change, and exploitation in the future, researchers made a number of simulations of future scenarios.

    Growth and production of sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) in a high-Arctic fjord, and growth along a climatic gradient (64 to 77&#176N)

    M.E. Blicher et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2007) 341:89-102. This study looks at the ecological role of a benthic species in an Arctic fjord in an attempt to predict possible changes in benthic production in Arctic areas expected to undergo marked climate changes in future decades.

    How do polar marine ecosystems respond to rapid climate change?

    O. Schofield et al. Science (2010) 328(5985):1520-1523. Sustained observations at the West Antarctic Peninsula show that in this region, rapid environmental change has coincided with shifts in the food web, from its base up to apex predators. New strategies will be required to gain further insight into how the marine climate system has influenced such changes and how it will do so in the future.

    How is global climate change affecting Alaska's marine ecosystems and resources?

    Slide presentation by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, 2008. Alaska's fisheries, which are commercially important (providing half of the US domestic catch), and traditional subsistence ways of life will be changing in complex and sometimes uncertain ways as the climate changes. (PDF 4.24 MB, archived webpage, archived webpage)

    How will climate change alter fishery governance: Insights from seven international case studies

    A. McIlgorm et al. Marine Policy (2010) 34(1):170-177. The case studies reveal governance issues that indicate adaptation will involve more flexible fishery management regimes, schemes for capacity adjustment, catch limitation, and alternative fishing livelihoods for fishers. Where fishery governance systems have been less developed, fisheries are less able to adapt to climate change impacts.

    How will increased dinoflagellate:diatom ratios affect copepod egg production? A case study from the Baltic Sea

    A. Vehmaa et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2011) 401(1-2):134-140. Mild winters are modifying the plankton spring bloom composition so that diatoms are decreasing and dinoflagellates increasing. The authors used two common spring bloom phytoplankton species, a diatom and a dinoflagellate, to study the effects of changing bloom composition on the reproduction of the calanoid copepod Acartia bifilosa Giesbrecht, a dominant species in the northern Baltic Sea.

    Ice-shelf collapse, climate change, and habitat loss in the Canadian high Arctic

    W.F. Vincent et al. Polar Record (2001) 37(201):133-142. Extensive meltwater lakes occur on the surface of the ice shelf and support a unique microbial food web. The major contraction of these ice-water habitats foreshadows a much broader loss of marine cryo-ecosystems that will accompany future warming in the high Arctic.

    Impact of a shrinking Arctic ice cover on marine primary production

    K.R. Arrigo et al. Geophysical Research Letters (2008) doi:10.1029/2008GL035028. Annual primary production in the Arctic has increased yearly, and 30% of this increase is attributable to decreased minimum summer ice extent and 70% to a longer phytoplankton growing season. Should these trends continue, additional loss of ice during Arctic spring could boost productivity greater than threefold above 1998-2002 levels, potentially altering marine ecosystem structure and the degree of pelagic-benthic coupling.

    Impact of climate variability on marine ecosystems

    J. Alheit et al. (eds.) Journal of Marine Systems (2010) 79(3-4):227-436. This issue of Journal of Marine Systems offers several perspectives on the topic of marine ecosystems under climate change. Articles include: Introduction to the workshop on impact of climate variability on marine ecosystems: A comparative approach (J. Alheit et al.) Impact of climate variability on marine ecosystems: A comparative approach (J.W. Hurrell, C. Deser) North Atlantic climate variability: The role of the North Atlantic Oscillation (J.W. Hurrell, C. Deser) Climate change, teleconnection patterns, and regional processes forcing marine populations in the Pacific (F.B. Schwing et al.) Climate projections for selected large marine ecosystems (M. Wang et al.) Climate controls on marine ecosystems and fish populations (J.E. Overland et al.) Paleoecological studies on variability in marine fish populations: A long-term perspective on the impacts of climatic change on marine ecosystems (B.P. Finney et al.) Impacts of past climate variability on marine ecosystems: Lessons from sediment records (K-C Emeis et al.) Major pathways by which climate may force marine fish populations (G. Ottersen et al.) Linking climate to population variability in marine ecosystems characterized by non-simple dynamics: Conceptual templates and schematic constructs (A. Bakun) On the processes linking climate to ecosystem changes (K.F. Drinkwater et al.) Impacts of climate change on fisheries (K. Brander) How does fishing alter marine populations and ecosystems sensitivity to climate? (B. Planque et al.) Predicting the effects of climate change on marine communities and the consequences for fisheries (S. Jennings, K. Brander) Sensitivity of marine systems to climate and fishing: Concepts, issues and management responses (R.I. Perry et al.)

    Impact of climate warming on Arctic benthic biodiversity: a case study of two Arctic glacial bays

    M. Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, J.M. Weslawski. Climate Research (2001) 18:127-132. This case study leads to the conclusion that one of the consequences of climate warming for Arctic ecosystems will be a decline of benthic biodiversity due to an increase in mineral sedimentation from meltwaters. (PDF, 233 KB)

    Impact of climatic change on the biological production in the Barents Sea

    I.H. Ellingsen et al. Climatic Change (2008) 87:155-175. The Barents Sea is a high-latitude ecosystem and is an important nursery and feeding area for commercial fish stocks such as cod, capelin, and herring. There is a large inter-annual variability both in physical and biological conditions in the Barents Sea. Understanding and predicting changes in the system requires insight into the coupled nature of the physical and biological interactions. (PDF, 1.2 MB)

    Impact of warm water advection on the winter zooplankton community in an Arctic fjord

    K.J. Willis et al. Polar Biology (2007) 31(4):475-481. The west coast of Spitsbergen is influenced by water masses of Atlantic and Arctic origin. During the winter of January-April 2006, water temperatures on the West Spitsbergen Shelf were ~3°C warmer than typical winter conditions, leading to a coastal sea ice cover of reduced thickness, extent, and duration. The early introduction of shelf populations into the fjord has implications for the marine pelagic food web and pelagic-benthic coupling.

    Impacts of climate change on commercial fish stocks in Norwegian waters

    E.K. Stenevik, S. Sundby. Marine Policy (2007) 31(1):19-31. The Norwegian fishing areas extend over various marine ecosystems that will respond differently to climate change.

    Impacts of climate change on marine organisms and ecosystems

    A.S. Brierley, M.J. Kingsford. Current Biology (2009) 19(14):R602-R614. This review describes present-day climate change, setting it in context with historical change, considers consequences of climate change for marine biological processes now and into the future, and discusses contributions that marine systems could play in mitigating the impacts of global climate change.

    Implications of warming temperatures for population outbreaks of a nonindigenous species (Membranipora membranacea, Bryozoa) in rocky subtidal ecosystems

    M.I. Saunders et al. Limnology and Oceanography (2010) 55(4):1627-1642. This study explores the role of temperature on population outbreaks of a nonindigenous bryozoan in kelp beds in the western North Atlantic (Nova Scotia, Canada). The authors conclude that outbreaks of this species will increase in frequency and intensity if temperatures warm as a result of climate change, causing defoliation of kelp beds and, thus, facilitating the invasion of other nonindigenous benthic species. (PDF, 2.96 MB)

    Increasing temperatures change pelagic trophodynamics and the balance between pelagic and benthic secondary production in a water column model of the Kattegat

    M. Maar, J.L.S. Hansen. Journal of Marine Systems (2011) 85(1-2):57-70. This study shows that climate warming presumably will change the trophodynamics of primary and secondary production and will alter the balance of the ecosystem towards a higher pelagic and a lower benthic secondary production.

    Interactions between climate change and contaminants

    D. Schiedek. Marine Pollution Bulletin (2007) 54(12):1845-1856. This paper is intended to increase awareness among scientists, coastal zone managers and decision makers that climate change will affect contaminant exposure and toxic effects and that both forms of stress will impact aquatic ecosystems and biota. (PDF, 398 KB)

    Interannual variability of coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi blooms in response to changes in water column stability in the eastern Bering Sea

    T. Iida et al. Continental Shelf Research (2012) 34:7-17. Here the authors propose that the key parameter for E. huxleyi blooms is the strength of the density stratification resulting from two water masses formed in different seasons, surface warm layer and cold bottom water (CBW). Winter sea ice distribution is an important factor in the CBW temperature in summer. Warming of the CBW since 2001 in the middle shelf has induced weakening of density stratification during summer.

    Is climate change causing the increasing narwhal (Monodon monoceros) catches in Smith Sound, Greenland?

    M.R Nielsen. Polar Research (2009) 28(2):238-245. This paper evaluates recent changes in narwhal (Monodon monoceros) catches in Siorapaluk, the northernmost community in Greenland, in consideration of the effects of changing climate and uncertainty of stock delineation.

    Linkages between Alaskan sockeye salmon abundance, growth at sea, and climate, 1955-2002

    G.T. Ruggerone et al. Deep Sea Research II (2007) 54(23-26):2776-2793. The authors tested the hypothesis that increased growth of salmon during early marine life contributed to greater survival and abundance of salmon following the 1976/1977 climate regime shift and that this, in turn, led to density-dependent reductions in growth during late marine stages.

    Long-term effects of predicted future seawater CO2 conditions on the survival and growth of the marine shrimp Palaemon pacificus

    H. Kurihara et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2008) 367(1):41-46. The increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has been driving all marine organisms to live in increasingly acidic environments. In the present study, the authors evaluated the long-term effects of increased seawater CO2 on survival, growth, feeding, and moulting of the marine shrimp Palaemon pacificus.

    Long-term trends in fish recruitment in the north-east Atlantic related to climate change

    T. Brunel, J. Boucher. Fisheries Oceanography (2007) 16(4):336-349. This study investigates the temporal correspondence between the main patterns of recruitment variations among north-east Atlantic exploited fish populations and large-scale climate and temperature indices.

    Loss of Arctic ice may promote hybrid marine mammals

    ScienceDaily, December 16, 2010. A trio of researchers say the seasonal loss of the Arctic Ocean ice sheet, a continent-sized natural barrier between species such as bears, whales, and seals, could mean extinction of some rare marine mammals and the loss of many adaptive gene combinations.

    Loss of Arctic sea ice causing punctuated change in sightings of killer whales (Orcinus orca) over the past century

    J.W. Higdon, S.H. Ferguson. Ecological Applications (2009) 19(5):1365-1375. The authors measure changes in killer whale distribution in the Hudson Bay region with decreasing sea ice as an example of global readjustments occurring with climate change.

    Major pathways by which climate may force marine fish populations

    G. Ottersen et al. Journal of Marine Systems (2010) 79(3-4):343-360. Climate may affect marine fish populations through many different pathways, operating at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. Climate impacts may work their way bottom up through the food web or affect higher trophic levels more directly.

    Marine range shifts and species introductions: Comparative spread rates and community impacts

    C.J.B. Sorte et al. Global Ecology and Biogeography (2010) 19(3):303-316. Because it is well established that introduced species are a primary threat to global biodiversity, it follows that, just like introductions, range shifts have the potential to seriously affect biological systems. In addition, given that ranges shift faster in marine than terrestrial environments, marine communities might be affected faster than terrestrial ones as species shift with climate change.

    Marine science: The tiniest catch

    W. Holtcamp, Nature News, November 3, 2010. Marine scientists are prowling the Bering Sea to learn how climate affects minute sea creatures and the lucrative fishery that depends on them.

    Mass extinction of marine life in oceans during prehistoric times offers warning for future

    Science Daily, May 17, 2011. The mass extinction of marine life in our oceans during prehistoric times is a warning that the same could happen again due to high levels of greenhouse gases, according to new research.

    Mercury, food webs, and marine mammals: Implications of diet and climate change for human health

    S. Booth, D. Zeller. Environmental Health Perspectives (2005) 113(5):521-526. Under present conditions and climate change scenarios, methyl mercury has increased in the ecosystem, translating into increased human exposure over time. High and harmful levels of methyl mercury in the diet of Faroe Islanders are driven by whale meat consumption, and the increasing impact of climate change is likely to exacerbate this situation.

    Minor cause, major effect: Interactions in ecosystems can intensify impact of climate change

    Science Daily, May 3, 2011. In a new study, marine biologists from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR), together with colleagues from six other countries, show that highly complex interactions in ecosystems can intensify the impact of climate change within a relatively short period of time.

    Modelled spatial distribution of marine fish and projected modifications in the North Atlantic Ocean

    S. Lenoir et al. Global Change Biology (2011) 17(1):115-129. The objectives of this work were to examine the past, current and potential influence of global climate change on the spatial distribution of some commercially exploited fish and to evaluate a recently proposed new ecological niche model (ENM) called nonparametric probabilistic ecological niche model (NPPEN).

    Modelling the potential impacts of climate change and human activities on the sustainability of marine resources

    M. Barange et al. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (2010) 2(5-6):326-333. Emerging models exploring the synergistic dual exposure of marine ecosystems to climate change and human activity demonstrate firstly the explicit inclusion of humans is essential to provide meaningful and realistic climate change projections and, secondly, effective tools for adaptation and mitigation strategies cannot be developed in their absence.

    Monitoring changes in Alaska's coastline

    Alaska Seas & Coasts, Volume 3, April 2007. Within the past decade the need for coastal monitoring studies at a large spatial or even global range has become increasingly obvious for conservation and sustainability of diverse coastal ecosystems. 

    Mytilus thermophily?

    D.W. Norton, H.M. Feder. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2006) 309:301-303. These comments stem from the authors' review of Mytilus (blue mussel) distribution in sub-Arctic and Arctic Alaska and from other recent literature. (PDF, 52 KB)

    Narwhals transmit climate data from Arctic seas

    L. Laursen, Nature News, October 28, 2010. Marine mammals armed with thermometers return temperature readings from icy Baffin Bay.

    NOAA-funded tagging of narwhals finds continued warming of southern Baffin Bay

    NOAA online newsletter, October 27, 2010. The southern Baffin Bay off West Greenland has continued warming since wintertime ocean temperatures were last effectively measured there in the early 2000s. In a NOAA study during 2006-2007, temperatures were collected by narwhals tagged with sensors that recorded ocean depths and temperatures during feeding dives from the surface pack ice to the seafloor, going as deep as 1,773 meters, or more than a mile.

    Northern abalone: Endangered gourmet sea snail could be doomed by increasing ocean acidity

    Science Daily, May 26, 2011. Increasing levels of ocean acidity could spell doom for British Columbia's already beleaguered northern abalone, according to the first study to provide direct experimental evidence that changing sea water chemistry is negatively affecting an endangered species.

    Ocean acidification in the Arctic: What are the consequences of carbon dioxide increase on marine ecosystems?

    ScienceDaily, June 4, 2010. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions not only lead to global warming but also cause another, less well-known but equally disconcerting environmental change: ocean acidification. A group of 35 researchers of the EU-funded EPOCA project have just started the first major CO2 perturbation experiment in the Arctic Ocean. Their goal is to determine the response of Arctic marine life to the rapid change in ocean chemistry.

    Ocean acidification threatening our oceans

    The Circle (2010), Issue 4. The Circle is published quarterly by the WWF International Arctic Programme. This issue addresses ocean acidification at a circumpolar level and attempts to bring together some of the experts who are urging and taking action. (PDF, 2.1 MB)

    Ocean acidification: What it means to Alaskans and how we can adapt

    Fact sheet published by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program with support from the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP).

    Ocean greenery under warming stress

    Q. Schiermeier, Nature News, July 28, 2010. A century of phytoplankton decline suggests that ocean ecosystems are in peril.

    Ocean warming and acidification; implications for the Arctic brittlestar, Ophiocten sericeum

    H.L. Wood et al. Polar Biology (2011) 34(7):1033-1044. The Arctic Ocean currently has the highest global average pH. However, due to increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, it will become a region with one of the lowest global pH levels. In addition, Arctic waters will also increase in temperature as a result of global warming. These environmental changes can pose a significant threat for marine species, and in particular true Arctic species that are adapted to the historically cold and relatively stable abiotic conditions of the region.

    Oceanography of the Canadian Shelf of the Beaufort Sea: A setting for marine life

    E.C. Carmack, R.W. MacDonald. Arctic (2002) 55(Supp 1):29-45. Conservation of marine biodiversity in the Beaufort Sea demands that we understand what individual organisms require of their physical and geochemical environments in order to survive. Specifically, how do the extraordinary spatial and seasonal variations in ice cover, temperature, light, freshwater, turbidity, and currents of the Beaufort Sea define unique places or times critical to marine life? (PDF, 1.54 MB)

    Oceanography: Sick seas

    J. Ruttimann. Nature (2006) 442:978-980. The rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making the world's oceans more acidic. The author reports on the potentially catastrophic effect this could have on marine creatures.

    Oil exposure in a warmer Arctic: Potential impacts on key zooplankton species

    M. Hjorth, T.G. Nielsen. Marine Biology (2011) 158(6):1339-1347. Oil exploration activities are rapidly increasing in Arctic marine areas, with potentially higher risks of oil spills to the environment. Water temperatures in Arctic marine areas are simultaneously increasing as a result of global warming. Potential effects of a combination of increased water temperature and exposure to the PAH pyrene were investigated on fecal pellet and egg production and hatching success of two copepod species, Calanus finmarchicus and Calanus glacialis, sampled in Disko Bay, Greenland, on 23-25 April 2008.

    On the increasing vulnerability of the world ocean to multiple stresses

    E.L. Miles. Annual Review of Environment and Resources (2009) 34:17-41. This review focuses on the increasing vulnerability of the world ocean to multiple anthropogenic stresses in the latter half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century. The major additions to the suite of multiple stresses consist of the combined impacts of changing ocean thermal structure and increasing acidification, both of which are the results of increased anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    On the processes linking climate to ecosystem changes

    K.F. Drinkwater et al. Journal of Marine Systems (2010) 79(3-4):374-388. While documentation of climate effects on marine ecosystems has a long history, the underlying processes have often been elusive. In this paper, the authors review some of the ecosystem responses to climate variability and discuss the possible mechanisms through which climate acts.

    Ontogenetic patterns and temperature-dependent growth rates in early life stages of Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus)

    T.P. Hurst et al. Fishery Bulletin (2010) 108(4):382-392. Pacific cod is an important component of fisheries and food webs in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. However, vital rates of early life stages of this species have yet to be described in detail. The authors determined the thermal sensitivity of growth rates of embryos, preflexion and postflexion larvae, and postsettlement juveniles. (PDF, 1.2 MB)

    Pacific walrus: Benthic bioturbator of Beringia

    G.C. Ray et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2006) 330(1):403-419. The dependency of walruses on sea ice as habitat, the extent of their feeding, their benthic bioturbation, and consequent nutrient flux suggest that walruses play a major ecological role in Beringia. Should sea ice continue to move northward as a result of climate change, the walrus' ecological role could be diminished or lost, the benthic ecosystem could be fundamentally altered, and native subsistence hunters would be deprived of important resources.

    Pacific walruses studied as sea ice melts

    Science Daily, August 25, 2011. USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.

    Phytoplankton productivity on the Canadian Shelf of the Beaufort Sea

    E.C. Carmack et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2004) 277:37-50. For the first time, the seasonal cycle of phytoplankton productivity on a broad, seasonally ice-covered arctic shelf (the Canadian Shelf of the Beaufort Sea) is examined. (PDF, 830 KB)

    Polar marine ecosystems: Major threats and future change

    A. Clarke, C.M. Harris. Environmental Conservation (2003) 30(01):1-25. Although the two polar regions are similar in their extreme photoperiod, low temperatures, and in being heavily influenced by snow and ice, in almost all other respects they are very different. In both polar regions, the capacity of marine ecosystems to withstand the cumulative impact of a number of pressures, including climate change, pollution, and overexploitation, is of greatest concern.

    Polar ocean ecosystems in a changing world

    V. Smetacek, S. Nicol. Nature (2005) 437:362-368. Polar organisms have adapted their seasonal cycles to the dynamic interface between ice and water. This interface ranges from the micrometer-sized brine channels within sea ice to the planetary-scale advance and retreat of sea ice. Polar marine ecosystems are particularly sensitive to climate change because small temperature differences can have large effects on the extent and thickness of sea ice.

    Polar oceans in transition

    Science Daily, October 4, 2011. Researchers from Norway, India, Germany, and Chile are joining forces to understand what is happening in polar oceans, and what can be done.

    Potential responses to climate change in organisms with complex life histories: Evolution and plasticity in Pacific salmon

    L.G. Crozier et al. Evolutionary Applications (2008) 1(2):252-270. Salmon life histories are finely tuned to local environmental conditions, which are intimately linked to climate. The authors summarize the likely impacts of climate change on the physical environment of salmon in the Pacific Northwest and discuss the potential evolutionary consequences of these changes, with particular reference to Columbia River Basin spring/summer Chinook and sockeye salmon.

    Predicted levels of future ocean acidification and temperature rise could alter community structure and biodiversity in marine benthic communities

    R. Hale et al. Oikos (2011) 120(5):661-674. This community-based mesocosm study supports previous suggestions, based on observations of direct physiological impacts, that ocean acidification induced changes in marine biodiversity will be driven by differential vulnerability within and between different taxonomical groups.

    Predicting the impact of ocean acidification on benthic biodiversity: What can animal physiology tell us?

    S. Widdicombe, J.I. Spicer. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2008) 366(1-2):187-197. The challenge currently facing scientists is to predict the long-term implications of ocean acidification for the diversity of marine organisms and for the ecosystem functions this diversity sustains. This challenge is all the more difficult considering that empirical data specifically addressing the impact of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity are currently lacking.

    Prodigal plankton species makes first known migration from Pacific to Atlantic via pole

    Science Daily, June 29, 2011. The melting Arctic has opened a Northwest Passage across the Pole for a tiny species of plankton called Neodenticula seminae, which had disappeared from the North Atlantic 800,000 years ago.

    Record long algal bloom in Disko Bay, Greenland

    Science Daily, July 19, 2011. The spring bloom of plant plankton in Disko Bay has been unusually long this year. While in some years, it may have a short burst of just two weeks, this year Disko Bay was filled with plankton alga for more than six weeks.

    Regional climate change and harmful algal blooms in the northeast Atlantic

    M. Edwards et al. Limnology and Oceanography (2006) 51(2):820-829. Over the past four decades, some dinoflagellate taxa showed pronounced variation in the south and east of the North Sea. This study gives a preview of what might happen to certain HAB genera under changing climatic conditions in temperate environments and their responses to variability of climate oscillations such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. (PDF, 391 KB)

    Sea ice cover affects inter-annual and geographic variation in growth of the Arctic cockle Clinocardium ciliatum (Bivalvia) in Greenland

    M.K. Sejr et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2009) 389:149-158. Sea ice exerts a strong influence on Arctic marine primary production, thereby influencing food availability for secondary producers. Food availability is recognized as one of the primary constraints on macrobenthic growth and production. Thus, it may be expected that spatial and temporal variability in Arctic sea ice cover influencing primary productivity could translate to the next trophic level: the benthic secondary producers.

    Sensitivity of marine systems to climate and fishing: Concepts, issues and management responses

    R.I. Perry et al. Journal of Marine Systems (2010) 79(3-4):427-435. Modern fisheries research and management must understand and take account of the interactions between climate and fishing, rather than try to disentangle their effects and address each separately. These interactions are significant drivers of change in exploited marine systems and have ramifications for ecosystems and those who depend on the services they provide.

    Shell-shocked: How different creatures deal with an acidifying ocean

    J.B. Ries. Earth (2010). Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are making the oceans more acidic, which, in turn, is reducing the concentration of carbonate ions dissolved in seawater that organisms use to build their protective shells and skeletons.

    Spring time production of bottom ice algae in the landfast sea ice zone at Barrow, Alaska

    S.H. Lee et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2008) 367(2):204-212. The primary objective of this study was to determine the relative importance of ice algae and phytoplankton primary production during the spring growing season in the landfast sea ice zone of Barrow, Alaska in the western Arctic Ocean. The second objective was to compare the bloom patterns and amount of carbon production of ice algae between this and previous studies. Finally, the third objective was to evaluate possible changes in the physiological condition of sea ice algae through the growing season by determining carbon allocation into different macromolecules as photosynthetic end-products.

    State of the Arctic coast 2010: Scientific review and outlook

    D.L. Forbes, ed. (2011). This report addresses a recognized need for a more detailed assessment of the impacts of environmental and social change in the Arctic coastal zone. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA, 2005) provided an overall synthesis of observed and anticipated impacts on social and ecological systems in the Arctic, but did not attempt a focused treatment of the coastal zone. (6.90 MB, archived webpage)

    Temperature effects on growth of juvenile Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides Walbaum) in West Greenland waters

    K. Sünksen et al. Journal of Sea Research (2010) 64(1-2):125-132. Future increase in temperature along the west coast of Greenland is likely to result in enhanced growth of juvenile Greenland halibut. Whether this leads to increased recruitment is uncertain as density-dependent mortality of the settled juvenile Greenland halibut appears to counteract the positive effects of enhanced growth.

    Temperature effects on the molting, growth, and lipid composition of newly settled red king crab

    A.W. Stoner et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2010) 393(1-2):138-147. Red king crab is one of the most important fishery resource species in Alaska. It is threatened by heavy fishing pressure and changing climate conditions, yet little is known about the species' first year of post-settlement life. This study was undertaken to explore how temperature mediates growth and energy allocation in newly metamorphosed juveniles.

    Ten years after: Krill as indicator of changes in the macro-zooplankton communities of two Arctic fjords

    F. Buchholz et al. Polar Biology (2010) 33(1):101-113. A macro-zooplankton study from 1996 was repeated in 2006 and focused on euphausiid species as indicators of advection and warming effects in Kongsfjorden, West Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The influence of warmer Atlantic water in Kongsfjorden was indicated by the findings of three additional euphausiid species of typically Atlantic origin, relative to the previous study 10 years ago.

    The Arctic Ocean Review: Phase 1 report (2009-2011)

    Report by Protection of Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), Arctic Council, 2011. The overall objective of the AOR is to provide guidance to the Arctic Council Ministers as a means to strengthen governance in the Arctic through a cooperative, coordinated, and integrated approach to the management of the Arctic marine environment. (PDF, 1.2 MB)

    The Arctic's 'hidden ocean'

    NPR's "Morning Edition," September 28, 2005. The Arctic Ocean is one of the most unexplored places on Earth. It's also changing rapidly. In the summer, sea ice is melting more quickly than usual, due to rising air temperatures. These changes could have serious consequences for Arctic ecosystems. An expedition in the summer of 2005 set out to survey the biological diversity of the Arctic Ocean, and what species are at risk.

    The Bering Sea—A dynamic food web perspective

    K. Aydin, F. Mueter. Deep Sea Research II (2007) 54(23-26):2501-2525. While recent decades of ocean observation have highlighted possible links between climate and species fluctuations, mechanisms linking climate and population fluctuations are only beginning to be understood. This paper examines the food webs of Bering Sea ecosystems with particular reference to some key shifts in widely distributed, abundant fish populations and their links with climate variation.

    The biological response in the sea to climatic changes

    D.H. Gushing, R.R. Dickson. Advances in Marine Biology (1977) 14:1-122. During the thirties and early forties there was a general warming in the northern hemisphere that was documented in changes in the fish stocks and the spread of organisms to the north and in the profound changes throughout the ecosystem noticed in the western English Channel between 1926 and 1935. These trends of change reversed between 1966 and 1972, and this period has been named the Russell cycle.

    The effect of sea-ice loss on beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in West Greenland

    M.P. Heide-Jørgensen et al. Polar Research (2010) 29(2):198-208. These results, based on nearly 30 years of dedicated survey effort, are among the first available evidence showing a shift in distribution of an Arctic cetacean in response to changes in sea-ice coverage.

    The effects of temperature increases on a temperate phytoplankton community: A mesocosm climate change scenario

    M.K. Lassen et al. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2010) 383(1):79-88. This study indicates that a part of the relationship between temperature and spring bloom timing stems from a temperature-induced change in phytoplankton algal physiology.

    The future of the oceans past

    J.B.C. Jackson. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010) 365(1558):3765-3778. Today, overfishing, pollution, and increases in greenhouse gases are causing great changes to ocean environments and ecosystems. Some of these changes are potentially reversible on very short time scales, but warming and ocean acidification will intensify before they decline even with immediate reduction in emissions.

    The growing human footprint on coastal and open-ocean biogeochemistry

    S.C. Doney. Science (2010) 328(5985):1512-1516. Climate change, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, excess nutrient inputs, and pollution in its many forms are fundamentally altering the chemistry of the ocean.

    The human dimensions of marine mammal management in a time of rapid change: Comparing policies in Canada, Finland and the United States

    A.L. Lovecraft et al. Marine Policy (2011) 35(4):427-558. This special section addresses marine mammal management in a time of rapid climatic change. It is a series of complementary case studies that (1) examine the social drivers affecting marine mammal conservation and policy implementation in the Arctic, (2) link these cases to established theories and prior scientific work on social change, and (3) identify general principles for the design of policy strategies that can promote positive resilience to changes now experienced in high-latitude regions. Putting the US polar bear debate into context: The disconnect between old policy and new problems (C.L. Meek) Marine mammal co-management in Canada's Arctic: Knowledge co-production for learning and adaptive capacity (A. Dalea, D. Armitage) Co-existence of seals and fisheries? Adaptation of a coastal fishery for recovery of the Baltic grey seal (R. Varjopuro) Polar bear management, sport hunting and Inuit subsistence at Clyde River, Nunavut (G.W. Wenzel) Adaptive governance and the human dimensions of marine mammal management: Implications for policy in a changing North (C.L. Meek et al.)

    The impact of climate change on the world's marine ecosystems

    O. Hoegh-Guldberg, J.F. Bruno. Science (2010) 328(5985):1523-1528. Recent studies indicate that rapidly rising greenhouse gas concentrations are driving ocean systems toward conditions not seen for millions of years, with an associated risk of fundamental and irreversible ecological transformation.

    The impact of ice melting on bacterioplankton in the Arctic Ocean

    M.M. Sala et al. Polar Biology (2010) 33(12)1683-1694. Global warming and the associated ice melt are leading to an increase in the organic carbon in the Arctic Ocean. The authors evaluated the effects of ice melt on bacterioplankton at 21 stations in the Greenland Sea and Arctic Ocean in the summer of 2007, when a historical minimum of Arctic ice coverage was measured.

    The impacts of climate change in coastal marine systems

    C.D.G. Harley et al. Ecology Letters (2006) 9(2):228-241. Anthropogenically induced global climate change has profound implications for marine ecosystems and the economic and social systems that depend upon them. Efforts to manage and conserve living marine systems in the face of climate change will require improvements to the existing predictive framework.

    The shared future: A report of the Aspen Institute Commission on Arctic Climate Change

    Aspen Institute, 2011. In recognition of the scientific forecast of significant changes in the Arctic caused by global climate change, the Aspen Institute convened a civil society Dialogue and Commission on Arctic Climate Change. The Commission began its deliberations by identifying a set of dialogue principles as the foundation by which governance and sustainable management should proceed in the Arctic marine environment. This report presents the Commission's recommendations. Listen to an EarthSky interview with Commission member and respected oceanographer Sylvia Earle. (PDF, 5.04 MB)

    Threatening ocean life from the inside out

    M.J. Hardt, C. Safina. Scientific American online (2010). 303:66-73. Carbon dioxide emissions are making the oceans more acidic, imperiling the growth and reproduction of species from plankton to squid.

    Tides of trouble: Increased threats to human health and ecosystems from harmful algal blooms

    Fact sheet published by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 2010. The proliferation of harmful algal blooms (HABs) is a matter of growing global environmental health concern. These dangerous blooms of tiny microalgae can produce potent toxins that can harm people, pets, and marine life, and contaminate aquatic food chains. (PDF, 925 KB)

    Timing of blooms, algal food quality and Calanus glacialis reproduction and growth in a changing Arctic

    J.E. Søreide et al. Global Change Biology (2010). The Arctic bloom consists of two distinct categories of primary producers, ice algae growing within and on the underside of the sea ice, and phytoplankton growing in open waters. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, a subgroup of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) produced exclusively by these algae, are essential to all marine organisms for successful reproduction, growth, and development.

    Tipping points, thresholds and the keystone role of physiology in marine climate change research

    C.J. Monaco, B. Helmuth. Chapter 3, Advances in Marine Biology (2011) 60:123-160. Most approaches to studying ecological thresholds in marine ecosystems tend to focus on populations, or on nonlinearities in physical drivers. Here the authors examine why ecological thresholds can occur well before concomitant thresholds in physical drivers are observed, i.e., how even small linear changes in the physical environment can lead to ecological tipping points.

    Transitional states in marine fisheries: Adapting to predicted global change

    M.A. MacNeil et al. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010) 365(1558):3753-3763. Global climate change has the potential to substantially alter the production and community structure of marine fisheries and modify the ongoing impacts of fishing. Using case studies from the Western Indian Ocean, the North Sea, and the Bering Sea, the authors contextualize the direct and indirect effects of climate change on production and biodiversity and, in turn, on the social and economic aspects of marine fisheries.

    Trophic cascades and future harmful algal blooms within ice-free Arctic Seas north of Bering Strait: A simulation analysis

    J.J. Walsh et al. Progress In Oceanography (2011) doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2011.02.001. Similar to the history of the southern North Sea adjacent to the Rhine River, possible farming of northwestern Alaska and Canada, in conjunction with other human activities of ice retreat and overfishing, may lead to future exacerbations of poisonous phytoplankton. These potential killers include both toxic dinoflagellate and diazotroph HABs, deadly to terrestrial and marine mammals, as well as prymnesiophytes, some of which have already foamed beaches, while others have killed fishes of European waters.

    Variability in the Bering Sea ecosystem

    S.A. Macklin et al. Progress in Oceanography (2002) 55(1-2):1-4. This issue of Progress in Oceanography comprises research articles about climate-related changes in the Bering Sea, from chemistry dynamics to phytoplankton biomass to flatfish recruitment. This introductory article summarizes some of the studies.

    Vulnerable Arctic areas need protection as region warms, report says

    Yale Environment 360, April 27, 2011. A new report identifies 13 areas of the Arctic most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and calls for their protection as sea ice melts and industrial activity moves into newly accessible areas.

    Warming up, turning sour, losing breath: Ocean biogeochemistry under global change

    N. Gruber. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (2011) 369(1943):1980-1996. In the coming decades and centuries, the ocean's biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems will become increasingly stressed by at least three independent factors. Rising temperatures, ocean acidification, and ocean deoxygenation will cause substantial changes in the physical, chemical, and biological environment, which will then affect the ocean's biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems in ways that we are only beginning to fathom.

    Warming waters threaten 'unicorns of the sea'

    NPR's "All Things Considered," May 11, 2008. Researchers studying the impact of climate change on Arctic creatures say that the narwhal—the long-tusked whale that gave rise to the myth of the unicorn—could be in danger. Narwhals hunt in ice-covered areas and may be among the first animals to feel the heat of warming Arctic waters.

    Weaving marine food webs from end to end under global change

    C.L. Moloney et al. Journal of Marine Systems (2011) 84(3-4):106-116. Marine food web dynamics are determined by interactions within and between species and between species and their environment. Global change directly affects abiotic conditions and living organisms, impinging on all trophic levels in food webs.

    West Greenland's cod-to-shrimp transition: Local dimensions of climatic change

    L.C. Hamilton et al. Arctic (2003) 56(3):271-282. This integrated case study examines linkages between atmospheric conditions (including the North Atlantic Oscillation), ocean circulation, ecosystem conditions, fishery activities, and the livelihoods and population changes of two West Greenland towns: Sisimiut, south of Disko Bay, and Paamiut, on the southwest coast. (PDF, 1.28 MB)

    What top predators can tell us about ocean ecosystems

    Science Daily, June 27, 2011. Dr. Sara Iverson from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is able to determine what predators at the top of the food chain are eating and, by extension, how their diet has changed due to changes in ecosystems.

    When noise becomes the signal: Chemical contamination of aquatic ecosystems under a changing climate

    F. Wang. Marine Pollution Bulletin (2010) 60(10):1633-1635. Evidence is now emerging that climate change alters storage, transformation, transport pathways, eco-dynamics, and bio-uptake of contaminants. Here, the authors propose a new paradigm that, during a rapidly changing climate, emission control of some contaminants may be followed by long delays, on the order of decades or longer, before ensuing reduction is seen in food-web contaminant levels.

    Workshop report - IUCN/NRDC workshop to identify areas of ecological and biological significance or vulnerability in the Arctic marine environment

    L. Speer, T.L. Laughlin, April 7, 2011. Report prepared from results of a workshop held November 2-4, 2010, in La Jolla, California, by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). (PDF, 3.32 MB)

    World's oceans in 'shocking' decline

    R. Black, BBC News, June 20, 2011. In a new report, scientists warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history." They conclude that issues such as overfishing, pollution, and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognized.

    Return to Top

PDF documents can be viewed with the free Adobe® Acrobat Reader