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Transitions in Arctic ecosystems: ecological implications of a changing hydrological regime

Wrona, Frederick J.; Johansson, Margareta; Culp, Joseph M.; Jenkins, Alan; Mard, Johanna; Myers-Smith, Isla H.; Prowse, Terry D.; Vincent, Warwick F.; Wookey, Philip A.. 2016 Transitions in Arctic ecosystems: ecological implications of a changing hydrological regime. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 121 (3). 650-674. 10.1002/2015JG003133

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Abstract/Summary

Numerous international scientific assessments and related articles have, during the last decade, described the observed and potential impacts of climate change as well as other related environmental stressors on Arctic ecosystems. There is increasing recognition that observed and projected changes in freshwater sources, fluxes, and storage will have profound implications for the physical, biogeochemical, biological and ecological processes and properties of Arctic terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. However, a significant level of uncertainty remains in relation to forecasting the impacts of an intensified hydrological regime and related cryospheric change on ecosystem structure and function. As the terrestrial and freshwater ecology component of the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis we review these uncertainties and recommend enhanced coordinated circumpolar research and monitoring efforts to improve quantification and prediction of how an altered hydrological regime influences local, regional and circumpolar-level responses in terrestrial and freshwater systems. Specifically, we evaluate i) changes in ecosystem productivity; ii) alterations in ecosystem-level biogeochemical cycling and chemical transport; iii) altered landscapes, successional trajectories and creation of new habitats; iv) altered seasonality and phenological mismatches; and, v) gains or losses of species and associated trophic interactions. We emphasize the need for developing a process-based understanding of inter-ecosystem interactions, along with improved predictive models. We recommend enhanced use of the catchment-scale as an integrated unit of study, thereby more explicitly considering the physical, chemical and ecological processes and fluxes across a full freshwater continuum in a geographic region and spatial range of hydro-ecological units (e.g., stream-pond-lake-river-near shore marine environments).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1002/2015JG003133
CEH Sections: Directors, SPCs
ISSN: 0148-0227
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Part of special section 'Arctic freshwater synthesis'.
Additional Keywords: Arctic, terrestrial, freshwater, ecosystems, hydrology, cryosphere
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 21 Mar 2016 10:59 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/513284

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