ArcticNet - ArcticNet Research

Phase 4 (2015-2018)

The Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida) Ecosystem of the Beaufort Sea: Synthesis of Decadal Records

Project Leader(s)

Fortier, Louis

Typically, the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen visits the Beaufort Sea in September and October, hence, the pivotal early summer and the long winter-spring seasons are cloaked from direct observation. The best tool to monitor interannual variability and potential climate-linked trends in key indicators of ecosystem function are the circum-annual sequential particle (sediment) traps deployed since 2002 in the area to intercept and bottle at regular time intervals the plankton particles raining from the surface layer of the ocean. These particles include ice algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fecal pellets and detritus, which are all excellent indicators of the intensity of different ecosystem processes taking place at the ocean surface. A 16-year record is now available for the slope area of the Beaufort Sea, a fast-changing region of ecological importance targeted for oil exploration. The Arctic Cod project will maintain this series until 2018 and will exploit the series focusing on the annual cycle of abundance of large calanoid copepods and their nauplii, which are the main prey of the larval and juvenile stages of Arctic cod from late winter to summer. Contributes to IRIS: 1