minimum of Arctic sea ice cover has declined by nearly 40% over the last 37
years in response to anthropogenic climate change. As the sea ice retreats, it
is exposing seabed habitats previously inaccessible to industIJMS-Editor's-Choice-–-Conserving-Arctic-habitats-at-a-time-of-melting-icery. These include
continental shelf habitats, slope-incising submarine canyons, seamounts,
hydrothermal vent communities and other biodiversity hotspots that are in the
process of rapid adjustment to environmental change. Meanwhile, conservation in
the Arctic is lagging behind, with only 2.3% of the region within marine
protected areas (MPAs). The existing MPAs do not include any deep-sea habitats.
selected paper illustrates an approach based on seafloor geomorphology, which
identifies deep sea seabed habitats and biodiversity patterns that could be
used to guide the design of a representative, pan-Arctic MPA network and
the application of other spatial conservation and management measures.
Fishing trawler amongst icebergs in Disko Bay, west Greenland. Photo: GRID-Arendal