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Climate change effects on Arctic fjord and coastal macrobenthic diversity - observations and predictions
Weslawski, J.M.; Kendall, M.A.; Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, M.; Iken, K.B.; Kędra, M.; Legezynska, J.; Sejr, M.K. (2011). Climate change effects on Arctic fjord and coastal macrobenthic diversity - observations and predictions. Mar. Biodiv. Spec. Issue 41(1): 71-85
In: Marine Biodiversity. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 1867-1616; e-ISSN 1867-1624, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Aquatic communities > Benthos
    Climatic changes
    Topographic features > Landforms > Coasts
    PN, Arctic [Marine Regions]

Authors  Top 
  • Weslawski, J.M., more
  • Kendall, M.A.
  • Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, M., more
  • Iken, K.B.
  • Kędra, M.
  • Legezynska, J.
  • Sejr, M.K.

    The pattern of occurrence and recent changes in the distribution of macrobenthic organisms in fjordic and coastal (nearshore) Arctic waters are reviewed and future changes are hypothesized. The biodiversity patterns observed are demonstrated to be contextual, depending on the specific region of the Arctic or habitat type. Two major areas of biotic advection are indicated (the North Atlantic Current along Scandinavia to Svalbard and the Bering Strait area) where larvae and adult animals are transported from the species-rich sub-Arctic areas to species-poor Arctic areas. In those Arctic areas, increased temperature associated with increased advection in recent decades brings more boreal-subarctic species, increasing the local biodiversity when local cold-water species may be suppressed. Two other large coastal areas are little influenced by advected waters; the Siberian shores and the coasts of the Canadian Archipelago. There, local Arctic fauna are exposed to increasing ocean temperature, decreasing salinity and a reduction in ice cover with unpredictable effect for biodiversity. One the one hand, benthic species in Arctic fjords are exposed to increased siltation (from glacial meltwater) and salinity decreases, which together may lead to habitat homogenization and a subsequent decrease in biodiversity. On the other hand, the innermost basins of Arctic fjords are able to maintain pockets of very cold, dense, saline water and thus may act as refugia for cold-water species.

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