Saturday, February 20, 2010: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Room 17B (San Diego Convention Center)Sea-ice, a distinguishing feature of polar oceans, has a significant influence on the life history, diet, and general ecology of polar marine organisms. Present-day sea-ice loss is fundamentally altering the structure and function of the various components of marine ecosystems in the Arctic, from primary producers to top predators. In addition, the observed and projected reduction in perennial sea-ice coverage will leave room for increased human activity such as transportation, commercial fishing, and oil and gas activities. Understanding the current science and recognizing the limitations in what is known is an important first step in addressing these impacts for future conservation efforts in the Arctic. This step includes understanding the physical processes responsible for present and future sea-ice changes at both the regional and pan-Arctic scales and detailing the direct and indirect influences of sea-ice on the structure and function of Arctic marine ecosystems. Appropriate management and conservation of the Arctic Ocean must include the future response of Arctic ecosystems to sea-ice melt due to climate forcing in order to be effective and relevant. This session will explore sea-ice variability in a currently melting Arctic, offer background on the linkages between sea-ice and Arctic marine ecosystems, examine how they may be responding to reduced ice coverage, and discuss the data and steps that are needed for an effective Arctic conservation plan.
Tara Connelly, Natural Resources Defense Council
Gabriela Chavarria, Natural Resources Defense Council
Gabriela Chavarria, NRDC
Charles Clusen, Natural Resources Defense Council