The effects of global warming are at their most intense in the Arctic, triggering major environmental changes that deeply alter the marine ecosystem. The arctic marine biota is also threatened by increasing amounts of industrial activities, such as shipping, mining, and oil exploitation. The great perturbations that the arctic marine ecosystem will undoubtedly undergo in the next few decades will have major consequences on the processes that produce ecosystem services, which in turn maintain human well-being. My project aims at elucidating the impacts of the dual pressures of climate change and industrialization on arctic marine ecosystem services. Because the climatic stresses affecting the arctic marine ecosystem will have ecological, social and economic consequences, an integrated socio-ecological approach is required to fully understand the magnitude of the impacts and to establish a realistic and suitable management and adaption plan. My first objective is to describe the predicted and observed climate-induced changes in the artic marine food web based on both scientific and indigenous knowledge. Next, I will assess the resulting impacts on the provisioning of ecosystem services, especially high quality food, and northern communities that depend upon them. Finally, I will suggest ecosystem management solutions that could alleviate the consequences of climate change and anthropogenic activities on arctic fauna and Inuit communities. As the face of the Arctic changes under multiple and varied pressures, integrated assessments of the impacts on processes, services and human well-being such as this work will be critical to our management and adaptation.
Falardeau, M., D. Robert, L. Fortier
2014 ICES Journal of Marine Science