Ecological resilience of Arctic marine food webs to climate change

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 12:07pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 10/2019
Authors: Gary Griffith, Haakon Hop, Mikko Vihtakari, Anette Wold, Kjersti Kalhagen, Geir Gabrielsen
Journal title: Nature Climate Change
ISSN: 1758-678X

How real-world marine food webs absorb change, recover and adapt (that is, ecological resilience) to climate change remains problematic. Here we apply a novel approach to show how the complex changes in resilience of food webs can be understood with a small core set of self-organizing configurations that represent different simultaneously nested and multiple-species interactions. We identified a recent emergent pattern of an improving but possibly short-lived resilience of a highly observed Arctic marine food web (2004–2016), considered a harbinger of future Arctic change. The changes can be explained by continuing subsidiary inputs of Atlantic species that repair (self-organize) interactions within some configurations. Despite significant environmental perturbation, we found that the core ecological processes are maintained. We conclude that Arctic marine food webs can absorb and begin to adapt to ongoing climate change.

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