EBM4: The State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report (SAMBR)

Date: Tuesday October 9, 2018

Location: Tieva, Lappia Hall

Time: 17:00-18:30

The CBMP Marine has released the State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report (SAMBR), a synthesis of the state of knowledge about biodiversity in Arctic marine ecosystems, detectable changes, and important gaps in the ability to assess status and trends of biodiversity across six focal ecosystem components (FECs): marine mammals, seabirds, fishes, benthos, plankton, and sea ice biota. The report provides an important first step to identify knowledge gaps in circumpolar biodiversity monitoring efforts. The session provides an overview of monitoring results, advice for monitoring and recent implementation actions taken to follow-up on recommendations. It concludes with a discussion about the next steps for CBMP Marine.

Chairs: Alain Dupuis, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; John Bengtson, NOAA; Tom Christensen, Aarhus University; Sara Longan, North Slope Science Initiative

Format: Series of presentations followed by discussion

Presentations:

  1. Introductory remarks: Alain Dupuis, Fisheries and Oceans Canada 
  2. Sea ice biota key findings and information gaps: Cecilie von Quillfeldt, Norwegian Polar Institute pdf  
  3. Plankton key findings and information gaps: Connie Lovejoy, Université Laval pdf
  4. Benthos key findings and information gaps: Lis Lindal Jorgensen, Institute of Marine Research pdf
  5. Monitoring biodiversity of Arctic marine fishes: Key findings and information gaps: Kevin Hedges, Fisheries and Oceans Canada pdf
  6. SAMBR and CBird: Mia Rönkä, University of Turku / Ministry of the Environment, Finland pdf
  7. Marine Mammals key findings and information gaps: Fernando Ugarte, Greenland Insitute of Natural Resources 
  8. An analysis of SAMBR implementation: Rosa Meehan, ArcticTurn pdf
  9. Roundtable discussion

 


Abstracts:

Sea ice biota key findings and information gaps

Haakon Hop, Norwegian Polar Institute and UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
Bodil A. Bluhm, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
Igor A. Melnikov, P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Moscow, Russia
Michel Poulin, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Mikko Vihtakari, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
R. Eric Collins, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.
Rolf Gradinger, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
Thomas Juul-Pedersen, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, Greenland
Cecilie von Quillfeldt, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway

Sea ice is an important Arctic habitat that supports a high diversity of species—with over 1276 protist taxa alone. Multi-year sea ice is being replaced by first-year ice and open water, which will cause shifts in ice algal communities with cascading effects on the ice-associated ecosystem. Documentation of ice biota composition, abundance and natural variability is critical for evaluating responses to the decline in Arctic sea ice. The Sea-ice Biota Expert Network, therefore, aggregated and reviewed data on status and trends of ice-associated Bacteria, Archaea, microalgae, meiofauna, and under-ice macrofauna Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs) across eight Arctic Marine Areas as well as current monitoring. Sea ice biota has been most frequently sampled in the central Arctic, Svalbard area, Barrow (Alaska) and the Canadian Arctic, with recent sites in northern Greenland. Sea ice algal community structure has possibly changed in the central Arctic between the 1980s and 2010s, and ice-amphipod abundance and biomass have declined in the Svalbard area since the 1980s. Consistent monitoring protocols, equipment and methodology should be implemented. The presentation also evaluates dominant drivers of observed trends, and knowledge and monitoring gaps.

  

Plankton key findings and information gaps

Connie Lovejoy, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Cecilie von Quillfeldt, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
Russell R. Hopcroft, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Fairbanks, U.S.
Michel Poulin, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Mary Thaler, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Kristin Arendt, Greenland Institute of Natural Resource, Nuuk, Greenland
Hogni Debes, University of the Faroe Islands, Torshavn, Faroe Islands
Ástþór Gíslason, Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Reykjavík, Iceland
Ksenia Kosobokova, P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Moscow, Russia

Microbial and multicellular plankton and multicellular zooplankton are the base of the pelagic Arctic marine food web, that together channel essential energy and carbon to fishes, seabirds and marine mammals. Changes in planktonic species can have cascading effects throughout the ecosystem and can represent the first sign of overall ecosystem shifts. Despite their importance, the polyphyletic and diverse functional groups within the plankton are scientifically underappreciated and inadequately known. The Plankton Expert Network aggregated and reviewed data on the population status and trends of Bacteria, Archaea, phytoplankton, heterotrophic protists and zooplankton as Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs) across eight Arctic Marine Areas. Plankton are strongly affected by oceanographic currents which are driven by climate and differ between open water and ice-cover conditions, current patterns, temperature and salinity. Increased open water and less saline surface water that leads to increased stratification and higher summer surface temperatures could either enhance existing planktonic production or lead to range shifts whereby Arctic species are replaced by non-Arctic ones. The consequences for the Arctic marine food web are largely unknown. The presentation summarizes current levels of monitoring across the Arctic, the status and trends of FECs, drivers of trends, and highlights key knowledge and monitoring gaps.

 

Benthos key findings and information gaps

Virginie Roy, Canadian Museum of Nature, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canada,
Lis Lindal Jørgensen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway,
Philippe Archambault, Université Laval, Canada,
Martin Blicher, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Greenland,
Nina Denisenko, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia,
Guðmundur Guðmundsson, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Iceland,
Katrin Iken, University of Alaska Fairbanks, U.S,
Jan Sørensen, Faroese Museum of Natural History, Faroe Islands,
Natalia Anisimova, Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography, Russia,
Carolina Behe, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Alaska, U.S.,
Stanislav Denisenko, Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia,
Vera Metcalf, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Canada,
Steinunn Olafsdóttir, Marine Research Institute, Iceland,
Tom Schiøtte, Natural History Museum of Denmark,
Ole Tendal, Natural History Museum of Denmark,
Alexandra M. Ravelo, University of Alaska Fairbanks, U.S.,
Monika Kędra, Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland,
Dieter Piepenburg, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany

Currently, > 4,000 macro- and megabenthic invertebrate species are known from Arctic seas, representing the majority of marine faunal diversity in this region. This estimate is expected to increase with future studies. Benthic invertebrates are important ecosystem components as food for fishes, marine mammals, seabirds and humans. The Benthos Expert Network of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) aggregated and reviewed information on the population status and trends of macro- and megabenthic invertebrates across eight Arctic Marine Areas as well as the state of current monitoring efforts for these communities. Drivers are affecting benthic communities on a variety of scales, ranging from pan-Arctic (related to climate change, such as warming, ice decline and acidification) to regional or local scales (such as trawling, river/glacier discharge, and invasive species). Long-term benthic monitoring efforts have largely focused on macro- and megabenthic communities of the Chukchi and Barents Seas. Recently, they are increasing in waters off Greenland and Iceland, as well as in the Canadian Arctic and the Norwegian Sea. All other Arctic Marine Areas are lacking long-term monitoring. The presentation will summarize current level of knowledge and monitoring across the Arctic, drivers of observed trends, and knowledge and monitoring gaps.

 

Monitoring biodiversity of Arctic marine fishes: Key findings and information gaps

Kevin J. Hedges, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Shannon MacPhee, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Hreiðar Þór Valtýsson, University of Akureyri, Akureyri, Iceland
Edda Johannesen, Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway
Catherine W. Mecklenburg, Point Stephens Research, Juneau, Alaska, U.S.

Pelagic and benthic fish species are important in Arctic marine ecosystems because they transfer energy to predators such as seabirds, marine mammals, as well as people. The CBMP Marine Fishes Expert Network aggregated and reviewed data on the population status and trends of three marine fish Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs) across eight Arctic Marine Areas. Fishes are affected by environmental conditions such as temperature, sea ice availability and salinity, and are constrained by prey availability and predator pressure, which can be influenced by climate change. The three marine fish FECs discussed here are indicative of different changes that are occurring in the Arctic and demonstrate the varied responses observed among species. The presentation will summarize current level of monitoring across the Arctic, the status and trends of FECs, drivers of observed trends, and knowledge and monitoring gaps.

 

SAMBR and CBird

Kathy Kuletz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.
Mark Mallory, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Grant Gilchrist, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Greg Robertson, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Flemming Merkel, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Bergur Olsen, Faroe Marine Research Institute, Torshavn, Faroe Islands
Erpur Hansen, South Iceland Nature Centre, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Mia Rönkä, Biodiversity Unit, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway
Hallvard Strøm, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
Sebastien Déscamps, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
Maria Gavrilo Arctic & Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Robert Kaler, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.
David Irons, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.
Antti Below, Parks and Wildlife, Finland

Seabirds provide ecosystem services, notably as human food in many Arctic regions, major tourist attractions, as well as being an important link to the Arctic food web and returning nutrients from the oceans to coastal areas. Changes in seabird populations and diversity will affect regional sustainability for Arctic communities and ecosystems. The Circumpolar Seabird Expert Group (CBird) under the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) of the Arctic Council promotes, facilitates, and coordinates seabird conservation, management, research and monitoring among circumpolar countries and improves communication between seabird scientists, managers and the public inside and outside the Arctic. The Circumpolar Seabird Expert Group (CBird) aggregated and reviewed data on the population status and trends of eight seabird Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs) across eight Arctic Marine Areas as well as the state of current monitoring efforts for these species. Population trends for seabirds vary within and among regions, making it difficult to assess circumpolar trends. Nonetheless, among key sites, current trends indicate that most of the stable or increasing populations are in the Pacific Arctic and Arctic Archipelago, while most of the declining populations are in the Atlantic Arctic. Most circumpolar nations have at least one source of long-term seabird monitoring datasets, but efforts vary across regions. Long-term monitoring efforts are crucial to examining the effects of environmental drivers to changes in seabird populations. The presentation will summarize current level of monitoring across the Arctic, the status and trends of FECs, drivers of observed trends, and knowledge and monitoring gaps.

 

Marine Mammals key findings and information gaps

R.H. Meehan, ArcticTurn Consulting, Anchorage, U.S.,
K.M. Kovacs, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway (CBMP- MM Expert Group Leader)
S. Belikov, All Russian Research Institute for Nature Protection, Moscow, Russia
G. Desportes, North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission, Tromsø, Norway
S.H. Ferguson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Canada
K.L. Laidre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, Greenland
G.B. Stenson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St John, Canada
P.O. Thomas, Marine Mammal Commission, Washington D.C., U.S.
F. Ugarte, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, Greenland
D. Vongraven, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway

Marine mammals are top predators in Arctic marine ecosystems and are key to ecosystem functioning. Many Arctic marine mammal species are important resources and hold special cultural significance in Arctic communities. The CBMP (Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme) Marine Mammal Expert Network aggregated and reviewed data on the population status and trends of all 11 ice-associated marine mammal Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs) across eight Arctic Marine Areas as well as the state of current monitoring (and research) efforts for these species. Changes taking place in the physical environment in the Arctic due to global warming are affecting marine mammal behaviour, abundance, growth rates, body condition and reproduction, and impacting the resilience of marine mammal populations with concomitant effects on the people who rely on them for subsistence, economic and cultural purposes. Effective marine mammal population monitoring will need improved techniques and application at appropriate geographic scales to measure trends that can be evaluated relative to changes in climate (e.g., sea-ice cover) and human activities (e.g., hunting, shipping, mineral exploration). This presentation will summarize current marine mammal monitoring across the Arctic, the status and trends of FECs, drivers of observed trends, and knowledge and monitoring gaps.

 

An analysis of SAMBR implementation

Rosa Meehan, ArcticTurn

Preparation and production of the 2017 State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report for the Arctic Council represents a significant amount of effort by the Circumpolar Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP). To assess the general awareness and use of the SAMBR, we interviewed key stakeholders throughout the U.S. federal government, representatives of the State of Alaska and local government, as well as some other experts. Intended as a preliminary evaluation, the interviews focused on participant knowledge about and use of the report. Key findings of the SAMBR generally resonated with the people contacted. In particular, the findings articulate broadly recognized patterns that matched observations and data collected by agency scientists. The findings are also similar to basic premises used in environmental analyses. Some of the overlap is due to the direct involvement of people interviewed in either contributing to or participating in the preparation of SAMBR. Equally important is how well SAMBR reflects current understanding of Arctic patterns. Similar to key findings, respondents directly involved in studies programs noted overlap between the advice for monitoring and ongoing studies programs. Common challenges noted by several entities include incorporation of Traditional Knowledge and the lack of systemic data archiving and data management. The primary barrier to SAMBR implementation is the general lack of support for robust and truly long-term monitoring. Many of those contacted cited a conflict between Research and Monitoring with the latter viewed as a management agency responsibility and not appropriate for funding through a research program. A related aspect is a lack of funding for wide-ranging studies and long-term monitoring studies with dedicated funding. Most studies tend to be regionally focused and some simply site specific. A broader evaluation of SAMBR implementation that includes indigenous communities and non-governmental organizations could help refine our understanding and identify additional actions and benefits relative to SAMBR. Despite these various challenges, SAMBR provides a useful analysis that can be effectively built upon to further monitoring the changing Arctic.

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