Arctic Marine Biodiversity Plan- click to downloadArctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan is one of four pan-Arctic biodiveristy monitoring plans developed by the CBMP to improve the ability to detect and understand the causes of long-term change in the composition, structure and function of Arctic ecosystems.

This circumpolar plan for monitoring the Arctic marine environment works with existing monitoring capacity to facilitate improved and cost-effective monitoring through enhanced integration and coordination. This will allow for earlier detection of trends and more effective policy and management response.

Find an overview of the Plan below. Read the entire Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan for more detail.

Arctic Marine Environments: where to monitor

The Plan identifies eight Arctic Marine Areas where a suite of common parameters, sampling approaches and indicators will be used. Regionally specific parameters may also be applied. Exact boundaries may change over time to reflect changing bio-physical conditions.

Arctic Marine Areas, Image by Hugo Ahlenius, Nordpil

These areas were identified based on the following criteria:

  • Marine ecosystems that have long-term and high-quality data sets and/or ongoing activities covering all trophic levels from phytoplankton and algae through zooplankton, benthic animals, pelagic fish, seabirds, marine mammals, as well as key supporting biogeochemical data
  • Biological hotspots (e.g., polynyas, marginal ice zones), since these physically dynamic areas are proven sources of important traditional foods, as well as significant habitat for many marine species
  • Margins, boundaries, and fronts: monitoring changes in their position that could lead to changes in biodiversity (e.g., ice edge, distinct current circulations, intruding Atlantic or Pacific water that alters vertical structure, river inputs)
  • Gateways, which import and export biogeochemical properties, including biota and invasive species, with seawater
  • Locations suitable for incorporating and/or developing community-based monitoring approaches
  • Places with potential for both sections (spatial coverage) and moorings (temporal, especially seasonal, coverage), using new technologies as they become available
  • Low-productivity systems, because they may change profoundly as a consequence of anthropogenic impact, particularly climate change
  • Blocking domains, such as sills, which affect migration of biota

Parameters and indicators: what to monitor

Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs)

Focal Ecosystem Components (FECs) are biological categories of major importance to Arctic residents and/or considered central to the functioning of an ecosystem and likely to be good proxies of any changes in the environment. FEC categories will be monitored according to key biological parameters and indicators in the appropriate Arctic Marine Areas. Marine FEC categories are:

  • Sea Ice Biota
  • Plankton
  • Marine Fishes
  • Benthos
  • Seabirds
  • Marine mammals

The Plan recognizes that information gleaned from abiotic (i.e., chemical physical and geological) FECs, parameters and indicators be linked to the biological information. As the Plan is implemented, Marine Expert Networks review and refine selected indicators and parameters.

Optimal sampling schemes: how to monitor

The Plan identifies common sampling approaches (protocols) and designs (spatial and temporal coverage) for each FEC, and identifies where multiple-disciplinary sampling can occur.  Monitoring handbooks will be developed and provided to the Arctic monitoring community. During the start-up phase of the program (2011-2015) implementation of optimal sampling schemes will focus on existing monitoring networks run by Arctic states, however in future there is intention to expand implementation to include Arctic monitoring networks run by non-Arctic states.

Existing datasets and priority information gaps

The Plan begins to identify existing monitoring programs, datasets and information that consider FECs in data collection. The Plan organizes this information according to each Arctic Marine Environment, allowing for the early identification of priority knowledge gaps in taxa, spatial and temporal coverage. As implementation occurs, the Marine Expert Networks will refine this work.

Implementation and results

The CBMP is responsible for managing the overall output of the Plan by providing value-added services such as data management, capacity building, reporting, coordination and integration and communication, education and outreach.The CBMP organizational structure includes the CAFF Management Board, the CAFF International Secretariat, the CBMP Office, the Marine Steering Group and the Marine Expert NetworksImplementation is detailed in annual and national reports.

Arctic States

dk   ca   fi   is   no   ru   sw   usa

Permanent Participants

aac  raipon  icc   GCI Logo Vertical RGB 121x90  aia  saami_councile