1. Produce a conceptual model of climate change effect on marine biodiversity in Arctic
2. Compile and disseminate taxonomic knowledge on Arctic areas
Description of work
Task 1: (leader IOPAS) Comparative study of two Svalbard fjords
The comparative study of Kongsfjord (Atlantic) and Hornsund (Arctic) will focus on the pelagic system (from nannoplankton to top trophic levels), and on selected benthic habitats. The same habitats (e.g. intertidal rock pools, unvegetated soft, subtidal bottom, etc) in both fjords will be studied quantitatively to compare the structural differences (number of species, biodiversity indices, functional groups etc). Key ecosystem functions (primary production including size analyses and identification, pelago-benthic coupling, secondary production, reproduction, food web efficiency) will be studied and compared between the two fjords.
Task2: (leader IOPAS) Taxon inventories at BIOMARE sites
An All Taxon Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) will be compiled for Hornsund fjord, and temporal data series (from mid-1990’s to present) will be compiled for Kongsfjord. Taxonomists dealing with difficult groups will be invited to join the fieldwork and analyses. Special consideration will be given for poorly-studied groups such as Ciliata, naked Foraminifera, Turbellaria and other meiofauna organisms and the Hydrozoa. The molecular methods (e.g. genetic diversity on the population level) are going to be applied for selected macrofauna species.
Task 3: (leader APN) Ecosystem functioning
From open waters in the Barents Sea, east and south of Svalbard, biodiversity analyses of benthos, phytoplankton and zooplankton will be carried out (taxon inventories, community and functional group analyses). Existing time series data will be used to relate biodiversity with ice distribution and productivity. Using a variety of isotope and respiration analyses, sediment-biota interactions will be analysed, and food web pathways assessed. Also these will be related to phytoplankton or ice-algae-driven time periods. These data will be used to compile a conceptual model for different scenarios of climate and environmental change.
Task 4: (leaders ECOSERVE/ VLIZ): Outreach and data management
The joint scientific publications generated by WPs 1 and 2 will be linked to the MARBEF web site. Popular scientific material will be produced for the web site and at least two articles for the newsletters, outlining the project and the special role of Arctic ecosystems in European marine biodiversity. Joint data will be managed such that it is made available to the scientific community, for example via a common searchable taxonomic and geographical database.