IJMS Editor's Choice – Conserving Arctic habitats at a time of melting ice

The latest Editor’s Choice article from the ICES Journal of Marine Science is now available. Here, read about an approach for designing an Arctic marine protected area (MPA) network for better protecting habitats and ensuring sustainable use of resources.
Published: 14 August 2017

​​​​​​​​​​​The summer 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-ice​ry. 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.


This new 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. ​

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Fishing trawler amongst icebergs in Disko Bay, west Greenland. Photo: GRID-Arendal​​

​​Paper title: Arctic marine conservation is not prepared for the coming melt
Authors: Peter T. Harris​, Miles Macmillan-Lawler,
Lars Kullerud, Jake C. Rice
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IJMS Editor's Choice – Conserving Arctic habitats at a time of melting ice

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