Climate effects on Barents Sea ecosystem dynamics

  • Dalpadado P
  • Ingvaldsen R
  • Stige L
 et al. 
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Effects of climate variability and change on sea temperature, currents, and water mass distribution are likely to affect the productivity and structure of high-latitude ecosystems. This paper focuses on the Barents Sea (BS), a productive Arcto–boreal shelf ecosystem sustaining several ecologically and economically important fish species. The water masses in the region are classified as Atlantic, Arctic, and mixed, each having a distinct ecological signature. The pronounced increase in temperature and a reduction in the area covered by Arctic water that has taken place during the past decade have affected the ecology of the region. An increase in biomass of lipid-rich euphausiids in recent years, possibly linked to the temperature increase, has apparently provided good feeding and growth conditions for several species, including capelin and young cod. The observed reduction in Arctic zooplankton may on the other hand have negative implications for polar cod and other zooplankton predators linked to the Arctic foodweb. Despite these changes, the BS at present seems to maintain relatively stable levels of boreal zooplankton biomass and production, with no significant changes in the abundances of Calanus finmarchicus or the episodic immigrant C. helgolandicus.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Barents Sea
  • climate
  • temperature
  • trophic interactions
  • zooplankton

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  • Padmini Dalpadado

  • Randi B. Ingvaldsen

  • Leif Christian Stige

  • Bjarte Bogstad

  • Tor Knutsen

  • Geir Ottersen

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