Catalog Record: Benthic lower trophic level food webs in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – baselines and relevance of sea ice algal production
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Benthic lower trophic level food webs in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – baselines and relevance of sea ice algal production

This project seeks to investigate NPRB’s Arctic Focus Section Priority: Climate change effects on Arctic lower trophic food webs. Warming trends in the Arctic and increasing loss of sea ice and its associated primary production are thought to have profound effects on the energy flow on Arctic shelves. Based on information from other recent projects, we plan to fill specific gaps in our existing knowledge of Arctic benthic lower trophic food webs. Firstly, we will establish a baseline of the benthic lower trophic food web structure across the poorly investigated Beaufort Sea shelf, against which future changes in food web structure can be assessed. Secondly, we will measure the contribution of sea ice algae to the diet of two benthic invertebrates, the filter-feeding bivalve Macoma calcarea and the omnivore snow crab, Chionoecetes opilio. These invertebrates will be collected along a latitudinal gradient of sea ice cover in the Chukchi Sea, using this gradient as a proxy of conditions of increasing sea ice loss. These measurements will allow predictions about how energy flow through various benthic feeding types might be affected by future changes in sea ice conditions. The project tightly links conceptually and practically with other ongoing research programs, adding to the overall significance of the project’s individual results and to our overall understanding of Arctic lower trophic food web dynamics. Results of the project will be delivered to the public through public seminars at Arctic Native communities and to high school students through lesson plans.


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Status: Complete
Start Date: 2012/08/01
Type: Project
End Date: 2015/01/30
Primary Contacts
Name: Katrin Iken
Primary Organizations
North Pacific Research Board

Funding Organization
North Pacific Research Board

Other Organizations
University of Alaska Fairbanks


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