Marine Ecosystem Responses to Global Climate Change in the Bering and Chukchi Seas
The Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea have distinct marine ecosystems that are affected by seasonal sea ice. During the summer, the water column is stratified by meltwater from retreating sea ice and phytoplankton are found near the sea surface, where the incoming sunlight is sufficient for photosynthesis. These summer conditions result in the highest primary production in the world’s oceans and support high levels of fishery resources. Algae that live on the bottom of sea ice also play an important role in maintaining fishery resources by falling and decomposing on the sea floor in summer.
Recently, global climate change has become a cause for concern. The greenhouse effect, produced by increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, has induced increases in atmospheric and seawater temperatures. The effect of such increases on the cryosphere of the Arctic is already visible, and understanding its direct and indirect effects on the physical and chemical environments and the responses of marine ecosystems is critical.
We have conducted previous research examining the marine environments in the Bering and Chukchi seas. However, the knowledge of most aspects and responses of marine ecosystems to global climate change is still inadequate.
Based on results from the Oshoro-Maru research cruises during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 and previous research, we will examine the features and mechanisms of the responses of marine ecosystems to global climate change in the Bering and Chukchi seas.