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Research Document - 2010/066

Ecosystem status and trends report: Arctic Marine Ecozones

By A. Niemi, J. Paulic and D. Cobb


This document is in support of the national Ecosystem Status and Trends Report (ESTR), prepared under the Biodiversity Outcomes Framework for the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers (CCRM). The ESTR reports on the assessment of 25 Canadian Ecozones (15 terrestrial, 1 freshwater, and 9 marine) supporting the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) 2010 biodiversity targets.

A compilation of the current information on the condition, trends, drivers and stressors are presented for the Beaufort Sea, Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Hudson and James Bay and Foxe Basin Ecozones. The three Arctic marine Ecozones represent a very extensive and diverse area from both a geographical and ecosystem perspective. Ecosystem trends are presented when available. However, there are few long-term trends available for the Arctic Marine Ecozones and in some situations baseline conditions are lacking. Climate change is a key ecosystem driver, having significant effects on sea ice and water column characteristics thereby altering marine habitat and seasonality. Climate together with industrial development, shipping, harvesting and contaminant stressors act cumulatively to impact marine ecosystem structure and function in these Ecozones. Continued research is needed to assess trends in the rate and direction of ecosystem responses to these cumulative stressors in the Arctic marine Ecozones.

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