SOAR Phase I
The first phase of the SOAR project culminated in a special issue of Progress in Oceanography, volume 136, published in August 2015.
Here we list highlights of the papers presented in the Phase I special issue—these highlights are also available on the Progress in Oceanography webpage.
Moore & Stabeno
- Over the decade 2004-2013 dramatic environmental changes in the Pacific Arctic suggest a 'new normal' climate is emerging.
- Variable advection and hydrographic processes are key influences on benthic hotspots for seabird and marine mammal predators.
- Six bowhead whale core-use areas are identified, and body condition suggests bowheads are faring well despite sea ice loss.
- The Arctic Marine Pulses (AMP) conceptual model aims to animate advection models and link to pelagic-benthic coupling models.
Wood et al.
- Loss of multiyear sea ice resulted in an open-water dominated environment in summer.
- Fluctuations in large-scale atmospheric circulation also affected the ecosystem.
- Wider extremes of variability a hallmark of the 'new normal' in the Pacific Arctic.
Frey et al.
- Satellite data reveal divergent patterns in sea ice cover across the Pacific Arctic.
- We observe multi-year variability in sea ice cover in the Bering Sea.
- We observe significant losses in summer sea ice in the Canada Basin and Beaufort Sea.
- Sea ice variability is driven by both thermal and wind-driven processes.
- Observations of sea ice provide critical insights for marine ecosystem productivity.
Wang & Overland
- Sea ice decline faster in fall than in spring for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
- Future open-water duration may extend 1 more month by 2050.
- Alaskan Arctic will remain sea ice covered from Jan. to May even after 2050.
Arrigo & van Dijken
- Declines in sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean can fundamentally alter marine ecosystems.
- Annual NPP in the Arctic Ocean rose 30% between 1998 and 2012.
- Increased NPP was associated with reduced sea ice extent and longer growing season.
- Increased nutrient fluxes may also play an important role.
Mathis et al.
- The intensity, extent and duration of ocean acidification in the coastal areas around Alaska will increase.
- Important commercial and subsistence fisheries in Alaska are co-located where enhanced ocean acidification will occur.
- Coastal human communities in southeast and southwest Alaska are highly reliant on fishery harvests.
- Coastal human communities in southeast and southwest Alaska face the highest risk from ocean.
Grebmeier et al.
- Benthic biomass "hotspot" areas persist over multiple decades in the Pacific Arctic Region.
- A northward increase in benthic biomass has been observed for three of four benthic hotspots over time.
- Variable advection and hydrographic processes are key influences on benthic hotspots.
- Hotspot regions have concentrated prey for marine mammal and seabird benthivores.
Logerwell et al.
- Chinook Salmon may be moving into the Arctic.
- Nearshore is important habitat for forage fish (e.g., Pacific Herring and Capelin).
- Nearshore is a nursery area for other species (e.g., Arctic Cod and Saffron Cod).
- Commercially important gadids are present but not likely spawning in the Arctic.
- Conceptual models of Arctic and Saffron Cod life history distribution are provided.
Crawford et al.
- Ringed seals ≥1 year of age are eating more (%FO) Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida).
- Ringed seals are growing faster, have thicker blubber, and females mature earlier.
- Ringed seal growth and the proportion of pups harvested decreased with heavier ice.
- Bearded seals ≥1 year of age are eating fewer (%FO) invertebrates (10 of 24 taxa).
- Bearded seals have thicker blubber and females mature earlier now.
Divoky et al.
- Black guillemot nestling diet affected by decadal loss of Arctic summer sea ice.
- Arctic cod availability decreased with loss of sea ice and increased SST.
- Guillemot nestling survival and condition decreased with loss of Arctic cod.
- Adult guillemot overwinter survival showed no similar decadal temporal trend.
- A decrease in arctic cod availability due to decreased ice extent and increasing SST has implications for the entire Arctic.
Lovvorn et al.
- Four eider species that nest in the Arctic migrate through the Chukchi Sea.
- The eiders' access to benthic prey is restricted to open water within sea ice.
- Profitable prey densities occurred only in certain locations within the corridor.
- Seasonal and interannual access to profitable feeding areas varies from 0 to 100%.
- Eiders rely on having a range of profitable feeding areas along their migration route.
Kuletz et al.
- Getis-Ord Gi* hotspot analysis was used to identify 40-km × 40-km cells with high relative abundance for seabirds and marine mammals.
- Hotspots for seabirds, walrus, and gray whales occurred primarily in the Chukchi Sea.
- Hotspots for bowhead whales and other pinnipeds (i.e., seals) occurred near Barrow Canyon and along the Beaufort Sea shelf and slope.
- Hotspots for belugas occurred in both the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
- Seabirds and marine mammals shared 3 hotspots in summer and 1 in fall; the mouth of Barrow Canyon was shared both seasons.
Citta et al.
- We define core-use areas for Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort population bowhead whales.
- We summarize diving behavior, sea ice, and oceanographic data for each area.
- Core-use areas are co-located with oceanographic fronts and stratified layers.
- Seasonal movements relate to the timing of the ascent and descent of zooplankton.
- Whales feed seasonally in all three seas (Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort).
Clark et al.
- Acoustic data: 6 groups, 20 recorders, 14 months, 2300 km, Bering to Beaufort seas.
- Bowhead acoustics: dynamics of regional-seasonal occurrence-distribution.
- Noise analysis: regional-seasonal mammal, ice, wind, human acoustic contributions.
- Value: Initial large-scale synthesis of arctic marine acoustic environment.
MacIntyre et al.
- Contemporary baseline of year-round distributions of vocalizing bearded seals.
- Geographic variability in bearded seal call activity exists in Alaskan waters.
- Bearded seal call activity was significantly correlated with sea ice conditions.
- Reductions and variability in sea ice may negatively impact the behavioral ecology of bearded seals.
George et al.
- Bowhead body condition is positively correlated with sea ice loss and wind-driven upwelling.
- Average bowhead body condition increased over the period 1989 to 2011.
- Bowhead population size is increasing rapidly and may be linked to increased ocean productivity.
- No obvious negative effects from sea ice reduction on BCB bowheads detected to date.
- Currently it's a "good time to be a bowhead" but their future is quite uncertain.
Harwood et al.
- We summarize divergent trends in condition and/or production in five Beaufort Sea marine vertebrates.
- Subadult bowhead whales and Arctic char have shown trends of increasing body condition.
- Ringed seal, beluga, black guillemot chicks have shown a trend of declining condition, growth and/or production.
- Continued research and monitoring are warranted at temporal and spatial scales relevant to the indicator species.
- Important to use multi-species and multi-disciplinary approaches to identify and monitor ecosystem changes and causes.