KNO4: Enhanced assessment of marine biodiversity and anthropogenic stressors through integration of research and monitoring under CAFF-CBMP and AMAP

Date: Thursday October 11, 2018

Location: Valtuustosali, City Hall

Time: 10:30-12:00

Arctic marine biodiversity faces increasing threats from a variety of anthropogenic stressors including, chemical pollutants, climate change, and ocean acidification. The primary objective of CBMP is to provide early detection of changes in biodiversity and ecosystems and monitor and measure trends that can be used to inform the development of international policies to mitigate further degradation of Arctic biodiversity. With the publication of the State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report (SAMBR) in 2017, CBMP Marine has demonstrated how cooperative efforts to monitor and report on biodiversity can both help identify status and trends, as well as identify vital gaps in monitoring. As CBMP is an ecosystem based biodiversity monitoring programme, environmental parameters needs to be taken into account as part of the ecosystem drivers, to help explain causalities in the ecosystem. The CBMP-Marine, however, does not have the mandate and capacity to assess the drivers of changes in biodiversity. The assessment of anthropogenic drivers and impacts on the Arctic environment falls under the mandate of the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Programme (AMAP), whose recent activities have included assessments of chemical pollutants, climate change impacts on the cryosphere, and ocean acidification.

Chairs: Jason Stow, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Tom Christensen, Aarhus University; Alain Dupuis, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Format: Series of presentations followed by discussion


  • State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Assessment: CBMP Marine as an adaptive monitoring programme, key findings and advice for future work: Tom Christensen, Aarhus University pdf
  • Pan Arctic standardization for identifying biodiversity, drivers and stressors in a changing Arctic benthic ecosystem: Lis Lindal Jørgensen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway (IMR) pdf
  • Key findings from the SWIPA assessment related to marine biodiversity: Sebastian Gerland, Norwegian Polar Institute 
  • Key findings on Arctic Ocean Acidification and the need for information on the sensitivity of ecological components: Richard Bellerby, East China Normal University and Norwegian Institute for Water Research pdf
  • Key findings from Biological Effects of Pollutants on species/ecosystem risks and advice for future monitoring and research: Rune Dietz, Aarhus University and/or Rob Letcher, Environment and Climate Change  Canada pdf
  • Roundtable discussion on how CBMP and AMAP can work together on integrated ecosystem monitoring  



State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Assessment: CBMP Marine as an adaptive monitoring programme, key findings and advice for future work

Tom Christensen, Aarhus University; Jason Stow, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; Bronwyn Keatley, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Sara Longan, North Slope Science Initiative

CAFF's Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme, CBMP, is an adaptive and question driven ecosystem based monitoring programme. This ecosystem-based approach integrates information across ecosystems, species, and their interactions, and lends itself to monitoring central biotic aspects of Arctic ecosystems called Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs). Changes in FECs status likely indicate changes in the overall marine environment and which therefore CBMP monitors and tracks. The State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report (SAMBR) is a synthesis of the state of knowledge about biodiversity in Arctic marine ecosystems, detectable changes, and important gaps in our ability to assess state and trends in biodiversity across six themes: marine mammals, seabirds, marine fishes, benthos, plankton, and sea ice biota. The report include pieces of advice for future monitoring, including how environmental parameters needs to be taken into account as part of the ecosystem drivers, to help explain causalities in the ecosystem. With the SAMBR and also the newly published CBMP strategic plan, that contains several activities relates to increased cooperation between CBMP and other Arctic Council Workinggruops, there is a potential for increased cooperation with AMAP.


Pan Arctic standardization for identifying biodiversity, drivers and stressors in a changing Arctic benthic ecosystem

Jørgensen Lis L1, Logerwell Libby2, Blicher Martin3, Christiansen Jørgen S4, Hammeken Nanette3, Ólafsdóttir Steinunn H5, Roy Virginie6, Strelkova Natalia7, Sørensen Jan8, Bluhm Bodil4, Rosalyn Fredriksen4, Thangstad, Trude H1, Kimberly Rand2.

1: Institute of Marine Research, Norway (IMR)
2: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, USA
3: Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Greenland
4: University of Tromsø, Norway
5: Marine Research Institute, Iceland
6: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
7: Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography, Russia
8: Faroese Museum of Natural History, Faroe Islands

In recent years, there has been an increasing concern for the potential impact of commercial fisheries on the marine ecosystem, including non-target species and habitats (Christiansen 2017). Besides regular stock assessments of target species, there are both commercial and scientific interests in a more holistic approach to manage our marine resources. Documentation of the potential consequences of bottom trawling on species and bottom habitats is essential to mitigate human impacts. To observe whether species and habitats within the ecosystem remain healthy, relevant time series and long term monitoring data are needed. The international long-term monitoring program (LTM-Benthos, Nordic Council), including Atlantic- and Pacific-Arctic regions recognizes this need (Norway, Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Canada and USA). Here, we use the national scientific stock assessment surveys as a time and cost efficient data source for analyzing benthic communities and habitats over the past 15 years. One major benefit of LTM-Benthos is that it complies with international standards and thus adds information and value to national fish and shellfish assessment programs (Jørgensen et al. 2015). To illustrate the potential of our approach, we present here the first preliminary Pan-Arctic maps of benthic species richness, abundance and biomass together with estimates of main faunal community compositions and distribution of vulnerable habitats in the Barents Sea and in other seas of the Atlantic- and Pacific-Arctic regions. LTM-Benthos addresses the ABA recommendations under the category “Mainstreaming biodiversity” and “Identifying and safeguarding important areas for biodiversity”. Hence, the LTM-Benthos results identify important benthic communities and habitats, thus increasing our perception and understanding of benthic ecosystems across the Arctic seas. Christiansen JS (2017) No future for Euro-Arctic ocean fishes? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 575:217–227 Jørgensen L.L, Planque B, Thangstad TH, Certain G (2015). Vulnerability of megabenthic species to trawling in the Barents Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Science. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsv107.


Key findings from the SWIPA assessment related to marine biodiversity

Sebastian Gerland, Norwegian Polar Institute

Recent changes in Arctic sea ice extent, thickness, thermodynamics, age and dynamic processes, and ecosystem are summarized in a chapter of the second “Snow, Water, Ice, Permafrost in the Arctic” (SWIPA) report, published by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) in 2017. Here we present the main key findings from this chapter. The second SWIPA report is an update of a first report published in 2011. The new report deals especially with new observations and findings made after the first SWIPA report came out. SWIPA is sponsored by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), which is an Arctic Council project. Key elements of the sea ice chapter address the negative trends of Arctic sea ice extent and thickness, the change of Arctic sea ice towards younger and rather seasonal than multiyear sea ice, as for example also reported in the NOAA Arctic report cards of the recent years, and changes in the different components of the sea ice system linked to thermodynamic and dynamic processes. The roles of snow and surface features such as melt ponds for sea ice thermodynamic processes are discussed in detail, as well as changes of the sea-ice related ecosystem in the Arctic. Remaining gaps of knowledge and uncertainties are discussed, too. The information given in the sea ice chapter was collated and summarized by an international group of scientific authors from Asia, Europe and North America, with specialists in different topics relevant here.


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