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Effects of Sea-ice Loss on Biodiversity

2 May 2011
Thirty scientists, managers and community experts met in Vancouver, Canada, with the purpose to develop a technical report on what effects sea-ice reduction has on biodiversity in the Arctic. The Arctic Council Working Group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), organized and managed the workshop.

The workshop, which took place 22-23 March 2011, considered the following urgent issues:  

  • An overview of sea ice ecosystems and the role of ice in regions where sea ice is integral
  • The potential for wildlife and communities to adapt to a changing sea ice scenario
  • Impacts of reduced sea ice on genetic diversity of species
  • New species likely to establish as a result of reduction in sea ice
  • Positive and negative effects of changes to species composition on other wildlife and people
  • Priority actions that could be taken in support of sea ice-associated biodiversity
  • Information gaps that require targeted research

Building on the workshop's results, the project will develop a technical report on the current status and trends of sea ice-associated biodiversity, including direct effects on marine species and indirect effects on terrestrial species. The report will be finalized during a second workshop to be held in Russia in autumn 2011. Here, the accompanying conservation, scientific and policy recommendations will also be developed.

Photo: Gary Donaldson