Project: De-icing of Arctic Coasts: Critical or new opportunities for marine biodiversity and Ecosystem Services?

Acronym ACCES (Reference Number: 240)
Duration 27/12/2018 - 31/03/2022
Project Topic Nearshore waters are among the most productive regions in the Arctic and the coastal zone has always been the preferred ecotype for humans in the area. Melting of permafrost, shrinking of ice pack and retreat of glaciers are already subjects of intensive research, while the reduction of landfast ice and ice foot (seasonal coastal ice) has received much less attention. De-icing and continued warming will allow colonization of the intertidal zone by Arctic and boreal flora and fauna. Disappearance of coastal sea ice may, however, also result in habitat loss. Increased coastal erosion and sediment loads will physically change the nearshore bottom habitats and thus the biodiversity of these regions with cascading effects in food webs. Consequently, the coastal ecosystem goods and services (provisional, regulatory, socio-cultural) will also encounter changes. Arctic coastal biodiversity is therefore under growing pressure as climate change and human activities increase, necessitating that government managers, industries, conservation organisations and communities have access to timely and complete biodiversity status and trend data. In this project we have put together a strong multidisciplinary team from Norway, Poland, Canada, US and Denmark to Determine biodiversity- and socio-ecological consequences of the change from seasonal ice-covered to ice-free Arctic coasts. We will be studying a wide geographical range of Arctic coastal sites with contrasting ice regimes: Arctic coast with extensive seasonal sea ice coverage (iced) and Arctic coasts with limited or no seasonal sea ice (semi-iced to ice-free). For these two scenarios we will consider both rocky and soft sediment shores. Data management is highly prioritized within this project and data will be secured in the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS), the CAFF working group’s online circumpolar data management system. Knowledge generated in this project will be communicated and discussed with relevant stakeholders, and be incorporated in Coastal management plans.
Network BiodivScen
Call Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 The University Centre in Svalbard Coordinator Norway
2 Norut Northern Research Institute Partner Norway
3 Norwegian Institute for Water Research Partner Norway
4 Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences Partner Poland
5 The University of Manitoba Partner Canada
5 University of Gdansk Partner Poland
6 University of Texas at Austin Partner United States
7 Université du Québec à Rimouski Partner Canada
8 University of Alaska Fairbanks Partner United States
9 University of Aarhus Partner Denmark