Diet and life history reduce interspecific and intraspecific competition among three sympatric Arctic cephalopods.
ABSTRACT: Trophic niche and diet comparisons among closely sympatric marine species are important to understand complex food webs, particularly in regions most affected by climate change. Using stable isotope analyses, all ontogenetic stages of three sympatric species of Arctic cephalopods (genus Rossia) were studied to assess inter- and intraspecific competition with niche and diet overlap and partitioning in West Greenland and the Barents Sea. Seven traits related to resource and habitat utilization were identified in Rossia: no trait was shared by all three species. High boreal R. megaptera and Arctic endemic R. moelleri shared three traits with each other, while both R. megaptera and R. moelleri shared only two unique traits each with widespread boreal-Arctic R. palpebrosa. Thus all traits formed fully uncrossing pattern with each species having unique strategy of resource and habitat utilization. Predicted climate changes in the Arctic would have an impact on competition among Rossia with one potential 'winner' (R. megaptera in the Barents Sea) but no potential 'losers'.
Project description:Under exploitation and environmental change, it is essential to assess the sensitivity and vulnerability of marine ecosystems to such stress. A species' response to stress depends on its life history. Sensitivity to harvesting is related to the life history "fast-slow" continuum, where "slow" species (i.e., large, long lived, and late maturing) are expected to be more sensitive to fishing than "fast" ones. We analyze life history traits variation for all common fish species in the Barents Sea and rank fishes along fast-slow gradients obtained by ordination analyses. In addition, we integrate species' fast-slow ranks with ecosystem survey data for the period 2004-2009, to assess life history variation at the community level in space and time. Arctic fishes were smaller, had shorter life spans, earlier maturation, larger offspring, and lower fecundity than boreal ones. Arctic fishes could thus be considered faster than the boreal species, even when body size was corrected for. Phylogenetically related species possessed similar life histories. Early in the study period, we found a strong spatial gradient, where members of fish assemblages in the southwestern Barents Sea displayed slower life histories than in the northeast. However, in later, warmer years, the gradient weakened caused by a northward movement of boreal species. As a consequence, the northeast experienced increasing proportions of slower fish species. This study is a step toward integrating life history traits in ecosystem-based areal management. On the basis of life history traits, we assess the fish sensitivity to fishing, at the species and community level. We show that climate warming promotes a borealization of fish assemblages in the northeast, associated with slower life histories in that area. The biology of Arctic species is still poorly known, and boreal species that now establish in the Arctic are fishery sensitive, which calls for cautious ecosystem management of these areas.
Project description:Direct and indirect effects of global warming are expected to be pronounced and fast in the Arctic, impacting terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. The Barents Sea is a high latitude shelf Sea and a boundary area between arctic and boreal faunas. These faunas are likely to respond differently to changes in climate. In addition, the Barents Sea is highly impacted by fisheries and other human activities. This strong human presence places great demands on scientific investigation and advisory capacity. In order to identify basic community structures against which future climate related or other human induced changes could be evaluated, we analyzed species composition and diversity of demersal fish in the Barents Sea. We found six main assemblages that were separated along depth and temperature gradients. There are indications that climate driven changes have already taken place, since boreal species were found in large parts of the Barents Sea shelf, including also the northern Arctic area. When modelling diversity as a function of depth and temperature, we found that two of the assemblages in the eastern Barents Sea showed lower diversity than expected from their depth and temperature. This is probably caused by low habitat complexity and the distance to the pool of boreal species in the western Barents Sea. In contrast coastal assemblages in south western Barents Sea and along Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Eastern Barents Sea can be described as diversity "hotspots"; the South-western area had high density of species, abundance and biomass, and here some species have their northern distribution limit, whereas the Novaya Zemlya area has unique fauna of Arctic, coastal demersal fish. (see Information S1 for abstract in Russian).
Project description:As a result of ocean warming, the species composition of the Arctic seas has begun to shift in a boreal direction. One ecosystem prone to fauna shifts is the Northeast Greenland shelf. The dispersal route taken by boreal fauna to this area is, however, not known. This knowledge is essential to predict to what extent boreal biota will colonise Arctic habitats. Using population genetics, we show that Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), beaked redfish (Sebastes mentella), and deep-sea shrimp (Pandalus borealis) recently found on the Northeast Greenland shelf originate from the Barents Sea, and suggest that pelagic offspring were dispersed via advection across the Fram Strait. Our results indicate that boreal invasions of Arctic habitats can be driven by advection, and that the fauna of the Barents Sea can project into adjacent habitats with the potential to colonise putatively isolated Arctic ecosystems such as Northeast Greenland.
Project description:When facing environmental change and intensified anthropogenic impact on marine ecosystems, extensive knowledge of how these systems are functioning is required in order to manage them properly. However, in high-latitude ecosystems, where climate change is expected to have substantial ecological impact, the ecosystem functions of biological species have received little attention, partly due to the limited biological knowledge of Arctic species. Functional traits address the ecosystem functions of member species, allowing the functionality of communities to be characterised and the degree of functional redundancy to be assessed. Ecosystems with higher functional redundancy are expected to be less affected by species loss, and therefore less sensitive to disturbance. Here we highlight and compare typical functional characteristics of Arctic and boreal fish in the Barents Sea and address the consequences of a community-wide reorganization driven by climate warming on functional redundancy and characterization. Based on trait and fish community composition data, we assessed functional redundancy of the Barents Sea fish community for the period 2004-2012, a period during which this northern region was characterized by rapidly warming water masses and declining sea ice coverage. We identified six functional groups, with distinct spatial distributions, that collectively provide a functional characterization of Barents Sea fish. The functional groups displayed different prevalence in boreal and Arctic water masses. Some functional groups displayed a spatial expansion towards the northeast during the study period, whereas other groups showed a general decline in functional redundancy. Presently, the observed patterns of functional redundancy would seem to provide sufficient scope for buffering against local loss in functional diversity only for the more speciose functional groups. Furthermore, the observed functional reconfiguration may affect future ecosystem functioning in the area. In a period of rapid environmental change, monitoring programs integrating functional traits will help inform management on ecosystem functioning and vulnerability.
Project description:Climate-driven poleward shifts, leading to changes in species composition and relative abundances, have been recently documented in the Arctic. Among the fastest moving species are boreal generalist fish which are expected to affect arctic marine food web structure and ecosystem functioning substantially. Here, we address structural changes at the food web level induced by poleward shifts via topological network analysis of highly resolved boreal and arctic food webs of the Barents Sea. We detected considerable differences in structural properties and link configuration between the boreal and the arctic food webs, the latter being more modular and less connected. We found that a main characteristic of the boreal fish moving poleward into the arctic region of the Barents Sea is high generalism, a property that increases connectance and reduces modularity in the arctic marine food web. Our results reveal that habitats form natural boundaries for food web modules, and that generalists play an important functional role in coupling pelagic and benthic modules. We posit that these habitat couplers have the potential to promote the transfer of energy and matter between habitats, but also the spread of pertubations, thereby changing arctic marine food web structure considerably with implications for ecosystem dynamics and functioning.
Project description:Background biology: Global warming has accelerated in recent decades, with the Arctic warming 2–3 times faster than the global average. As a result boreal species are expanding into the Arctic, at a pace reflecting environmental warming. Nevertheless, the poleward expansion of boreal marine species is restricted by their ability to tolerate low water temperatures, and in the case of intertidal species, sub-zero air temperatures during winter. In Greenland, however, the number of days with extreme sub-zero air temperatures has decreased by more than 50% since the 1950’s, suggesting that the low air temperature constraint is weakening. Although boreal intertidal species could potentially benefit from this warmer climate to establish populations in the Arctic, recent work has shown that local intertidal summer air temperatures in Greenland can exceed 36°C. This temperature is above the thermoregulatory capacity of many boreal intertidal species, including the highly abundant blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Therefore will further colonisation of M. edulis in Greenland be inhibited by the increasingly warm summer temperatures. Aim of experiment: Intertidal animals (Greenland blue mussel M. edulis) were sampled in situ on the first warm days of the year from the inner (warmer) and outer (cooler) regions of the Godthåbsfjorden around Nuuk (64°N) to examine the fjord temperature gradient effect. In addition, subtidal M. edulis were also collected and subjected to two acute temperature shocks of 22 and 32°C, which represented common and extreme summer air temperatures for intertidal habitats near Nuuk.
Project description:The boundary between the boreal and arctic biomes in northwest Europe has been a matter of debate for many years. Some authors consider that the boundary is marked by the northern limit of tree growth in the northernmost Norwegian mainland. In this study we have collected air and soil temperature data from 37 heath stands from northern Finnmark (71°N), the northernmost part of the Norwegian mainland, through Bear Island (74°N) in the Barents sea, to Adventsdalen (78)°N (in Spitsbergen) in Svalbard archipelago. In Finnmark, plots both south and north of the treeline were investigated. Vegetation and soil chemistry analyses were performed on the plots in Finnmark and Svalbard. Significant decreasing south-north trends in air and soil temperatures were observed from Finnmark to Spitsbergen. Soils in Finnmark were acidic and rich in organic matter, while those on Adventsdalen were basic and poor in organic matter. Vegetational analysis identified five communities: three in Finnmark and two on Adventsdalen. The communities in Finnmark had marked mutual similarities but were very different from those on Adventsdalen. No significant ecological differences between heaths south and north of the treeline in Finnmark were observed. Air and soil temperature variables in Finnmark were outside the recognized range for the arctic biome and inconsistent with the presence of permafrost both south and north of the treeline. A major difference between Finnmark and Spitsbergen was amount of soil frost and length of the growing season. Our results suggest that the boreal biome extends all the way to the north coast of mainland Norway; and previously used division of heaths in Finnmark into boreal, alpine and arctic biomes is not justified.
Project description:Recent studies have indicated a metabolic temperature sensitivity in both the arcto-boreal krill species Thysanoessa inermis and Thysanoessa raschii that may determine these species' abundance and population persistence at lower latitudes (up to 40° N). T. inermis currently dominates the krill community in the Barents Sea and in the high Arctic Kongsfjord. We aimed to increase the knowledge on the upper thermal limit found in the latter species by estimating the CT50 value (19.7 °C) (critical temperature at which 50 % of animals are reactive) and by linking metabolic rate measurements with molecular approaches. Optical oxygen sensors were used to measure respiration rates in steps of 2 °C (from 0 to 16 °C). To follow the temperature-mediated mechanisms of passive response, i.e., as a proxy for molecular stress, molecular chaperone heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) sequences were extracted from a transcriptome assembly, and the gene expression kinetics were monitored during an acute temperature exposure to 6 or 10 °C with subsequent recovery at 4 °C. Our results showed upregulation of hsp70 genes, especially the structurally constitutive and mitochondrial isoforms. These findings confirmed the temperature sensitivity of T. inermis and showed that the thermal stress took place before reaching the upper temperature limit estimated by respirometry at 12 °C. This study provides a baseline for further investigations into the thermal tolerances of arcto-boreal Thysanoessa spp. and comparisons with other krill species under different climatic regimes, especially Antarctica.
Project description:The two-branched inflow of warm and saline Atlantic Water to the Arctic is the major contributor of oceanic heat to the Arctic climate system. However, while the Atlantic Water entering the Arctic through the Fram Strait retains a large part of its heat as it flows along the Arctic continental slope, the branch flowing through the shallow Barents Sea releases a substantial amount of heat to the atmosphere. Hence, the pathway of the Atlantic Water into the Arctic to a large degree determines the short term fate of its heat. Here we show events in which the relative strengths of the two branches are affected by wind-induced Ekman-transport off the northern Barents Sea shelf. The resulting decrease in sea surface height induces a cyclonic circulation anomaly along the slope encircling the northern Barents Sea shelf area, which enhances the flow through the Barents Sea while weakening the branch flowing along the Arctic continental slope.
Project description:Glacial vicariance is regarded as one of the most prevalent drivers of phylogeographic structure and speciation among high-latitude organisms, but direct links between ice advances and range fragmentation have been more difficult to establish in marine than in terrestrial systems. Here we investigate the evolution of largely disjunct (and potentially reproductively isolated) phylogeographic lineages within the amphi-boreal kelp Saccharina latissima s. l. Using molecular data (COI, microsatellites) we confirm that S. latissima comprises also the NE Pacific S. cichorioides complex and is composed of divergent lineages with limited range overlap and genetic admixture. Only a few genetic hybrids were detected throughout a Canadian Arctic/NW Greenland contact zone. The degree of genetic differentiation and sympatric isolation of phylogroups suggest that S. latissima s. l. represents a complex of incipient species. Phylogroup distributions compared with paleo-environmental reconstructions of the cryosphere further suggest that diversification within S. latissima results from chronic glacial isolation in disjunct persistence areas intercalated with ephemeral interglacial poleward expansions and admixture at high-latitude (Arctic) contact zones. This study thus supports a role for glaciations not just in redistributing pre-existing marine lineages but also as a speciation pump across multi-glacial cycles for marine organisms otherwise exhibiting cosmopolite amphi-boreal distributions.