Climate-Related Changes in Marine Invertebrate Communities and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Risk in the North
Over the past century, aquatic invasive species have become a serious threat to biodiversity in North America. The combination of climate change, resource exploitation, and the resulting increase in Arctic shipping activity is expected to increase the risk of exotic species being introduced to vulnerable Canadian waters. This project aimed to improve the knowledge of current biodiversity in the Canadian Arctic in the context of a changing climate.
Results: Researchers surveyed coastal marine species at Arctic ports that are at high risk of aquatic invasive species introduction and conducted an extensive literature review to develop a list of historical species in these high-risk areas. Port-specific species lists and regional historical lists were compared to identify new species. The majority of new species in a given port region are not in fact new, but have been found as a result of improved survey and data collection efforts. However, six species not previously found elsewhere in the Canadian Arctic are considered "cryptogenic"—their status as native or introduced remains unclear.
Researchers are also using models to assess the current and future risk of aquatic invasive species in the Canadian Arctic based on projected environmental changes as a result of the effects of climate change. This will help identify high-risk areas and species to allow for more focused monitoring and research efforts in the future. The results of this project are included in a scientific paper that has been submitted for publication.
Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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