10.6 C
Sunday, May 28, 2023
HomeScienceA warming Arctic is drawing marine predators north

A warming Arctic is drawing marine predators north


Map of the eight Arctic sea regions included in the study. credit: Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-30943-y

Marine predators have expanded their ranges in Arctic waters over the past 20 years, driven by climate change and associated increases in productivity.

The seas around the Arctic are an important fishing and ecological area. They are also among the regions hardest hit by climate change. The effects of warming waters and loss of sea ice on the biodiversity of these waters, and thus their ecology, are still not fully understood.

An international team of researchers led by Dr. Erin D. Their findings, published in the journal Scientific reportsRecent changes in biodiversity have been shown to be driven by large-scale expansions of polar species.

“We used data on the presence of 69 species of apex predators and intermediate predators in eight Arctic regions from 2000 to 2019,” explains Alapia. “We combined this information with climate and productivity data over the same period to map species-specific habitat distributions.”

The team calculated species richness, community composition, and co-occurrence between pairs of species throughout the 20-year study period in each of the eight Arctic regions. They were able to infer potential species associations and changes in them from the co-occurrence data.

A warming Arctic is drawing marine predators north

Spatial distributions of species richness (SR) temporal trend and average annual SR across the Arctic between 2000 and 2019. The top panels show data for 26 major species; Lower panels show data for 43 intermediate species (lower panels). Dotted regions on the spatial maps (left figures, upper and lower panels) correspond to regions of increasing species richness over time. credit: Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-30943-y

Their main finding was that species richness — the number of different species represented in the study areas — increased over the study period, driven by the migration to the north of predators such as whales, sharks and seabirds. Mesozoans such as fish and crabs displayed a relatively limited degree of northward migration, confined to the shallow continental shelf seas of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Although spatial extent varied, this northward expansion was driven by changes in climate, productivity, or both.

These climate-driven changes in biodiversity have, in turn, led to changes in potential species associations due to overlapping habitats between taxa from different marine communities during unprecedented periods of temperature and sea ice changes.

“Our findings revealed that changes in climate and species richness in the Arctic vary across large marine areas and highlight potential areas of climate, productivity hotspots and emerging areas of species acquisition,” concluded Alabia. “This information is important for advancing conservation and management efforts for the sustainable use of resources in light of the expanding effects of climate change in the Arctic.”

more information:
Erin D. Alabia et al., Arctic marine biodiversity and species occurrence patterns under modern climate, Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-30943-y

Provided by Hokkaido University

the quote: Warming Arctic Attracts Marine Predators North (2023, April 4) Retrieved April 4, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-arctic-marine-predators-northwards.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories