Published October 15, 2020 | Version v1
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Exploring Rapid Changes in the Arctic Marine Environment - First ECOTIP Expedition to the Kongsfjorden on Svalbard

  • 1. Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
  • 2. Alfred Wegener Institut
  • 3. Universität Hamburg


Video of flash talk (5 min) given by Claudia Elena Schmidt during the YOUMARES 11 conference in Session 4: Fjord systems: Ecology, bentho-pelagic coupling, and anthropogenic impacts on 15.10.2020 in Hamburg.

The Arctic Ocean and its adjacent seas are especially vulnerable to climate change. Its ecosystem is rapidly changing in response to temperature increase, loss of sea ice, and the combined effects of additional stressors such as invasive species and pollution. However, the scientific community currently lacks sufficient information on the mechanisms, drivers and thresholds of these environmental changes on the Arctic ecosystem and the consequences that may arise for many Arctic communities. The recently launched ECOTIP project aims at closing these knowledge gaps by investigating the impacts of climate change on the Arctic marine environment in order to identify tipping points that can induce an abrupt and sometimes irreversible change in the ecosystem. In a joint sampling campaign between the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) water and sediment samples from key marine and terrestrial locations in the Kongsfjorden area on the west coast of the Svalbard archipelago were collected in July 2020. The aim of the ongoing study will be to understand the mechanism of carbon cycling in a polar fjord system that is influenced by profound environmental changes by measuring alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Furthermore, the biogeochemical cycle of metals, trace metals and other elements in coastal and shelf waters influenced by melt water streams, draining from land terminating glaciers, will be investigated by multi-element analyses. The collected data will provide scientific insight into biogeochemical processes in high-latitude fjord and coastal regions affected by climate change and thus help to predict future changes in Arctic ecosystems.



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ECOTIP – Arctic biodiversity change and its consequences: Assessing, monitoring and predicting the effects of ecosystem tipping cascades on marine ecosystem services and dependent human systems 869383
European Commission