(RedOrbit, 17 March 2010) -- A new assessment of the Arctic's biodiversity reports a 26 percent
decline in species populations in the high Arctic. Populations of
lemmings, caribou and red knot are some of the species that have
experienced declines over the past 34 years, according to the first
report from The Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI), which provides
crucial information on how the Arctic's ecosystems and wildlife are
responding to environmental change. While some of these declines
may be part of a natural cycle, there is concern that pressures such as
climate change may be exacerbating natural cyclic declines.
contrast, population levels of species living in the sub-Arctic and low
Arctic are relatively stable and in some cases, increasing. Populations
of marine mammals, including bowhead whales found in the low Arctic, may
have benefited from the recent tightening of hunting laws. Some fish
species have also experienced population increases in response to rising
"Rapid changes to the Arctic's ecosystems will
have consequences for the Arctic that will be felt globally. The Arctic
is host to abundant and diverse wildlife populations, many of which
migrate annually from all regions of the globe.
This region acts as a
critical component in the Earth's physical, chemical, and biological
regulatory system," says lead-author Louise McRae from the Zoological
Society of London (ZSL). Data collected on migratory Arctic shorebirds show that their numbers
have also decreased. Further research is now needed to determine
whether this is the result of changes in the Arctic or at other stopover
sites on their migration. ...
The findings of the first ASTI report will be presented at the 'State of
the Arctic' Conference in Miami, USA. The full report will be available
to download from www.asti.is on Wednesday March 17th, 2010.
Posted by Amanda Graham – 17 March 2010; 6:07:58 PM – Permalink
Tagged: Arctic, News, Polar research: Reports and findings