Ecosystem overviews

Barents Sea ecoregion

State of habitat

​​​​Benthic and pelagic​​

A baseline survey (2011) of epibenthos using bottom-trawl surveys found that the Barents Sea has at least 354 benthic taxa. Depth, temperature, salinity, and number of ice days determine four main megafaunal regions. The southwestern region is dominated by filter-feeders (sponges) in the inflow area of warm Atlantic water while the deeper trenches have detritivorous fauna (echinoderms). On the banks/slopes in the southeast and west regions, predators (sea stars, anemones. and snow crabs) prevail together with filtrating species (sea cucumber and bivalves) within a mosaic of banks and slopes. Plankton-feeding brittle stars are common in the northwestern and northeastern regions, with an increasing snow crab population in the northeast.

Increasing snow and red king crab populations and potentially expanding trawling activity (e.g. for scallops and demersal fish) are the main impacts to the benthic community. Species including Geodia sponges in the southwestern, basket stars Gorgonocephalus spp. in the northern areas, sea pen Umbellula encrinus on the shelf facing the Arctic Ocean, and sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa in shallow southern areas are particularly vulnerable to being impacted by trawling activities.​​

Threatened and declining habitats in the Barents Sea according to OSPAR​​:

Coral gardens
Cymodocea meadows
Deep-sea sponge aggregations
Intertidal mudflats
Lophelia pertusa reefs
Modiolus modiolus beds
Ostrea edulis beds
Seamounts
Zostera beds

Other states in the Barents Sea​

Print this pagePrint it Request newsletterSend to Post to Facebook Post to Twitter Post to LinkedIn Share it
c FollowFollow Focus on ContentFocus on Content
HelpGive Feedback
SharePoint

Barents Sea ecoregion

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
ICES Secretariat · H. C. Andersens Boulevard 44-46, DK 1553 Copenhagen V, Denmark · Tel: +45 3338 6700 · Fax: +45 3393 4215 · info@ices.dk
Disclaimer · © ICES - All Rights Reserved
top