Arctic

Abundance and species diversity hotspots of tracked marine predators across the North American Arctic

Yurkowski DJ, Auger-Méthé M, Mallory ML, Wong SNP, Gilchrist G, Derocher AE, Richardson E, Lunn NJ, Hussey NE, Marcoux M, et al. Abundance and species diversity hotspots of tracked marine predators across the North American Arctic Beger M. Diversity and Distributions [Internet]. 2018 . Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ddi.12860
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $42.00
Type: Journal Article

Aim

Climate change is altering marine ecosystems worldwide and is most pronounced in the Arctic. Economic development is increasing leading to more disturbances and pressures on Arctic wildlife. Identifying areas that support higher levels of predator abundance and biodiversity is important for the implementation of targeted conservation measures across the Arctic.

Location

Primarily Canadian Arctic marine waters but also parts of the United States, Greenland and Russia.

Methods

We compiled the largest data set of existing telemetry data for marine predators in the North American Arctic consisting of 1,283 individuals from 21 species. Data were arranged into four species groups: (a) cetaceans and pinnipeds, (b) polar bears Ursus maritimus (c) seabirds, and (d) fishes to address the following objectives: (a) to identify abundance hotspots for each species group in the summer–autumn and winter–spring; (b) to identify species diversity hotspots across all species groups and extent of overlap with exclusive economic zones; and (c) to perform a gap analysis that assesses amount of overlap between species diversity hotspots with existing protected areas.

Results

Abundance and species diversity hotpots during summer–autumn and winter–spring were identified in Baffin Bay, Davis Strait, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Amundsen Gulf, and the Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering seas both within and across species groups. Abundance and species diversity hotpots occurred within the continental slope in summer–autumn and offshore in areas of moving pack ice in winter–spring. Gap analysis revealed that the current level of conservation protection that overlaps species diversity hotspots is low covering only 5% (77,498 km2) in summer–autumn and 7% (83,202 km2) in winter–spring.

Main conclusions

We identified several areas of potential importance for Arctic marine predators that could provide policymakers with a starting point for conservation measures given the multitude of threats facing the Arctic. These results are relevant to multilevel and multinational governance to protect this vulnerable ecosystem in our rapidly changing world.

Chinese legislation in the exploration of marine mineral resources and its adoption in the Arctic Ocean

Chang Y-C. Chinese legislation in the exploration of marine mineral resources and its adoption in the Arctic Ocean. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2019 ;168:265 - 273. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456911830646X
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

This paper aims to discuss Chinese legislation in the exploration of marine mineral resources and its adoption in the Arctic Ocean. The journey commences by providing comments on the ‘Law of the People's Republic of China on the Exploration and Development of Resources in the Deep Seabed Area’ and to explore Chinese domestic legislation regulating Chinese enterprises' development activities in the Arctic area. Attention also pays to legislation regulating Chinese and foreign enterprises in the exploitation of mineral resources in China's continental shelf with special concern toward the protection of ecological environment. This paper concludes by suggesting that there is a need to further improve Chinese domestic legislation and draw on advanced legislative experience from various States and international law, in order to provide strong domestic legal protection for exploitation activities.

An examination of trans-Arctic vessel routing in the Central Arctic Ocean

Stevenson TC, Davies J, Huntington HP, Sheard W. An examination of trans-Arctic vessel routing in the Central Arctic Ocean. Marine Policy [Internet]. In Press . Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X18307334
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

As the Arctic continues to warm, summer sea ice will continue to recede and a greater expanse of Arctic waters will become navigable. These changes may result in an increase in vessel traffic to the region, including via the Transpolar Sea Route (TSR), through the high seas area of the central Arctic Ocean (CAO). This paper begins with a review of the literature on Arctic vessel traffic to assess the potential effects of various stressors related to vessel traffic in the Arctic Ocean. Available data concerning environmental and safety risks for the Arctic Ocean are used to propose vessel TSR vessel traffic routes that can reduce those risks. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of several examples of vulnerability assessments focused on impacts from vessel traffic in the Arctic as potential models for future work specific to the CAO. The results from this review indicate vessel oiling, air pollution, and noise from icebreakers are immediate concerns to the Arctic Ocean that will likely worsen as the region becomes more navigable and vessel traffic increases. The proposed vessel routes for the Arctic Ocean are meant to serve as a starting point for further discussions before the region becomes fully navigable. As additional data become available, these efforts can be refined further, and a rigorous vulnerability assessment may become possible. Designation as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area under international law could provide a useful mechanism for creating and updating precautionary shipping measures as more information becomes available.

Could offspring predation offset the successful reproduction of the arctic copepod Calanus hyperboreus under reduced sea-ice cover conditions?

Darnis G, Wold A, Falk-Petersen S, Graeve M, Fortier L. Could offspring predation offset the successful reproduction of the arctic copepod Calanus hyperboreus under reduced sea-ice cover conditions?. Progress in Oceanography [Internet]. 2019 ;170:107 - 118. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661117303415
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Life cycle and reproduction of Calanus hyperboreus were studied during a year of record low ice cover in the southeastern Beaufort Sea. Stages CIV, adult females and CV dominated the overwintering population, suggesting a 2- to 3-year life cycle. Within two spring-summer months in the upper water column females filled their energy reserves before initiating their downward seasonal migration. From February to March, vigorous reproduction (20–65 eggs f−1 d−1) delivered numerous eggs (29 000 eggs m−2) at depth and nauplii N1-N3 (17 000 ind. m−2) in the water column. However, CI copepodite recruitment in May, coincident with the phytoplankton bloom, was modest in Amundsen Gulf compared to sites outside the gulf. Consequently, C. hyperboreus abundance and biomass stagnated throughout summer in Amundsen Gulf. As a mismatch between the first-feeding stages and food was unlikely under the favourable feeding conditions of April-May 2008, predation on the egg and larval stages in late winter presumably limited subsequent recruitment and population growth. Particularly abundant in Amundsen Gulf, the copepods Metridia longa and C. glacialis were likely important consumers of C. hyperboreus eggs and nauplii. With the ongoing climate-driven lengthening of the ice-free season, intensification of top-down control of C. hyperboreus recruitment by thriving populations of mesopelagic omnivores and carnivores like M. longa may counteract the potential benefits of increased primary production over the Arctic shelves margins for this key prey of pelagic fish, seabirds and the bowhead whale.

Warm Arctic, increased winter sea-ice growth?

Petty AA, Holland MM, Bailey DA, Kurtz NT. Warm Arctic, increased winter sea-ice growth?. Geophysical Research Letters [Internet]. 2018 . Available from: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1029/2018GL079223
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article

We explore current variability and future projections of winter Arctic sea ice thickness and growth using data from climate models and satellite observations. Winter ice thickness in the Community Earth System Model's Large Ensemble (CESM‐LE) compare well against thickness estimates from the Pan‐Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) and CryoSat‐2, despite some significant regional differences ‐ e.g. a high thickness bias in CESM‐LE in the western Arctic. Differences across the available CryoSat‐2 thickness products hinder more robust validation efforts. We assess the importance of the negative conductive feedback of sea ice growth (thinner ice grows faster) by regressing October atmosphere/ice/ocean conditions against winter ice growth. Our regressions demonstrate the importance of a strong negative conductive feedback process in our current climate, that increases winter growth for thinner initial ice, but indicate that later in the 21st century this negative feedback is overwhelmed by variations in the fall atmosphere/ocean state.

Current practices and knowledge supporting oil spill risk assessment in the Arctic

Wenning RJ, Robinson H, Bock M, Rempel-Hester MAnn, Gardiner W. Current practices and knowledge supporting oil spill risk assessment in the Arctic. Marine Environmental Research [Internet]. In Press . Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141113617306773
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $39.95
Type: Journal Article

Oil spill response (OSR) in the Arctic marine environment conducted as part of operational planning and preparedness supporting exploration and development is most successful when knowledge of the ecosystem is readily available and applicable in an oil spill risk assessment framework. OSR strategies supporting decision-making during the critical period after a spill event should be explicit about the environmental resources potentially at risk and the efficacy of OSR countermeasures that best protect sensitive and valued resources. At present, there are 6 prominent methods for spill impact mitigation assessment (SIMA) in the Arctic aimed at supporting OSR and operational planning and preparedness; each method examines spill scenarios and identifies response strategies best suited to overcome the unique challenges posed by polar ecosystems and to minimize potential long-term environmental consequences. The different methods are grounded in classical environmental risk assessment and the net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) approach that emerged in the 1990s after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The different approaches share 5 primary assessment elements (oil physical and chemical properties, fate and transport, exposure, effects and consequence analysis). This paper highlights how the different Arctic methods reflect this common risk assessment framework and share a common need for oil spill science relevant to Arctic ecosystems. An online literature navigation portal, developed as part of the 5-year Arctic Oil Spill Response Technologies Joint Industry Programme, complements the different approaches currently used in the Arctic by capturing the rapidly expanding body of scientific knowledge useful to evaluating exposure, vulnerability and recovery of the Arctic ecosystem after an oil spill.

Sustainable Shipping in a Changing Arctic: Challenges for the Establishment of Marine Protected Areas in Response to Arctic Marine Operations and Shipping

McCreath M, Brigham LW. Sustainable Shipping in a Changing Arctic: Challenges for the Establishment of Marine Protected Areas in Response to Arctic Marine Operations and Shipping. In: Hildebrand LP, Brigham LW, Johansson TM Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2018. pp. 297 - 322. Available from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-78425-0_17
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $29.95
Type: Book Chapter

Increasing Arctic marine use is driven primarily by natural resource development and greater marine access throughout the Arctic Ocean created by profound sea ice retreat. Significant management measures to enhance protection of Arctic people and the marine environment are emerging, including the development of marine protected areas (MPAs) which may be effective and valuable tools. MPAs have been established by individual Arctic coastal states within their respective national jurisdictions; however, a pan-Arctic network of MPAs has yet to be established despite Arctic Council deliberations. This overview focuses on those MPAs that can be designated by the International Maritime Organization and by international instrument or treaty to respond to increasing Arctic marine operations and shipping. Key challenges remain in the Arctic to the introduction of select MPAs and development of a circumpolar network of MPAs in response to greater marine use: the variability of sea ice; the rights and concerns of indigenous people; a lack of marine infrastructure; application to the Central Arctic Ocean; establishing effective monitoring; and, compliance and enforcement in remote polar seas. Robust bilateral and multilateral cooperation will be necessary not only to establish effective MPAs but also to sustain them for the long term. Reducing the large Arctic marine infrastructure gap will be a key requirement to achieve effective MPA management and attain critical conservation goals.

Societal Impacts of a Rapidly Changing Arctic

Stephen K. Societal Impacts of a Rapidly Changing Arctic. Current Climate Change Reports [Internet]. 2018 . Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s40641-018-0106-1
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This review article makes six observations about the current body of research on the societal impacts of a changing Arctic. First, climate change and globalisation are the dominant drivers of societal impacts in the Arctic. Second, many contributions focus on the impacts in concrete sectors of society, often from an opportunities-and-risks perspective, which tends to blur the boundary to more policy-oriented work. Third, the mantra of the sustainable development of the Arctic or Arctic sustainability pervades considerations of Arctic societal impacts. Fourth, societal and environment change in the Arctic is increasingly analysed using the image of the Global Arctic, highlighting the inextricable linkages between Arctic and global processes and systems and thus the entangled fate of the North and the entire globe. Fifth, an increasing number of actors is seen as being involved in societal and environmental transformations in the Arctic, often conveyed through the (often ill-defined) stakeholder concept. Sixth, Arctic indigenous peoples are depicted as the group most vulnerable to the societal impacts of a changing Arctic, but are increasingly the subject of research in the form of rights-holders and active participants in governance, law, politics, and research. Challenges for future research include achieving greater clarity and reflexivity around key concepts, and de-essentialising the Arctic via the use of comparative methods on cases both within and beyond the Arctic.

Microplastic contamination in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions

Fang C, Zheng R, Zhang Y, Hong F, Mu J, Chen M, Song P, Lin L, Lin H, Le F, et al. Microplastic contamination in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Chemosphere [Internet]. In Press ;209:298 - 306. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653518311767
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $41.95
Type: Journal Article

The seafloor is recognized as one of the major sinks for microplastics (MPs). However, to date there have been no studies reported the MP contamination in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Therefore, this study provided the first data on the abundances and characteristics of MPs in a total of 413 dominant benthic organisms representing 11 different species inhabiting in the shelf of Bering and Chukchi Seas. The mean abundances of MP uptake by the benthos from all sites ranged from 0.02 to 0.46 items g−1 wet weight (ww) or 0.04–1.67 items individual−1, which were lower values than those found in other regions worldwide. The highest value appeared at the northernmost site, implying that the sea ice and the cold current represent possible transport mediums. Interestingly, the predator A. rubens ingested the maximum quantities of MPs, suggesting that the trophic transfer of MPs through benthic food webs may play a critical role. Fibers constituted the major type (87%) in each species, followed by film (13%). The colors of fibers were classified as red (46%) and transparent (41%), and the film was all gray. The predominant composition was polyamide (PA) (46%), followed by polyethylene (PE) (23%), polyester (PET) (18%) and cellophane (CP) (13%). The most common sizes of MPs concentrated in the interval from 0.10 to 1.50 mm, and the mean size was 1.45 ± 0.13 mm. Further studies about the temporal trends and detrimental effects of MPs remain to be carried out in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

Opening a new ocean: Arctic Ocean fisheries regime as a (potential) turning point for Canada’s Arctic policy

Landriault M. Opening a new ocean: Arctic Ocean fisheries regime as a (potential) turning point for Canada’s Arctic policy. International Journal: Canada's Journal of Global Policy Analysis [Internet]. 2018 ;73(1):158 - 165. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0020702018764753
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This policy brief focuses on the opening of the Central Arctic Ocean and the subsequent questions this poses to regional governance. This change has the potential to radically alter the nature of Arctic governance as non-Arctic states will have to play a significant role in the rules that will apply in the Arctic high seas. Talks about a regional fisheries regime will define the future of this region. The creation of a coordinating agreement would have the benefit of not challenging Arctic states too fundamentally while at the same time incorporating non-Arctic states in a meaningful way in the regional governance infrastructure.

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