Ecosystem maturation process follows the warming of Arctic fjords


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Friedrich.Buchholz [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Two fjords in West Spitsbergen (Hornsund 77°N and Kongsfjorden 79°N) differ with regard to their exposure towards increasingly warm Atlantic water inflow. Hornsund remains in many respects cooler than Kongsfjorden (on average 2°C SST in summer) and is less influenced by warmer and more saline Atlantic waters. Reported changes in the physical environment (temperature rise, freshwater inflow, salinity drop, turbidity, fast-ice reduction, coastal change) are discussed in the context of biological observations in the pelagic and benthic realms with special reference to krill (Euphausiacea). We conclude that well-documented changes in the physical environment have had little effect on the fjord biota and that both organisms and their ecological functions in the fjords are well adapted to the scale of ongoing change. The observed changes fit the definition of ecosystem maturation, with greater diversity, a more complex food web and dispersed energy flow at the warmer site.



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Article
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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
44866
DOI 10.1016/j.oceano.2017.02.002

Cite as
Weslawski, J. M. , Buchholz, F. , Gluchowska, M. and Weydmann, A. (2017): Ecosystem maturation process follows the warming of Arctic fjords , Oceanologia . doi: 10.1016/j.oceano.2017.02.002


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