Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Arctic wildlife  (Read 4505 times)

idunno

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 188
  • wonders are many
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 4
  • Likes Given: 0

Andreas T

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1148
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 18
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2014, 04:17:45 PM »
This is from one of the blogs by researchers on board the Oden north of Wrangell island.http://ciresblogs.colorado.edu/icebreaker/2014/08/11/feeding-frenzy-2/
I wonder whether it is normal for walrus to be so far from land? At the moment the ice they are on is heading north (not sure whether the coordinates give position where photos were taken or posted). Apart from being surrounded by polar bears, are these walruses on the way into trouble?

Jim Hunt

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5490
  • Stay Home, Save Lives
    • View Profile
    • The Arctic sea ice Great White Con
  • Liked: 719
  • Likes Given: 59
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2015, 12:46:03 AM »
I wonder whether it is normal for walrus to be so far from land?

See the answer by Jenny E Ross over at:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1147.msg45279.html#msg45279
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5490
  • Stay Home, Save Lives
    • View Profile
    • The Arctic sea ice Great White Con
  • Liked: 719
  • Likes Given: 59
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2015, 10:34:39 AM »
This seems like the best place to mention the latest article on the Arctic from The Economist:

"The Arctic Ocean - Awakening"

Quote
IN NOVEMBER 2011 an American icebreaker, USCGC Healy, set off from Seward, Alaska, to sail north through the Arctic Circle into the Chukchi Sea. It was the beginning of the winter-long polar night. Sea ice was forming. The sun did not appear in the northern Chukchi for weeks. Those on board expected creatures to be sparse in number and entering hibernation. Instead, they found a ferment of activity.

Robert Campbell of the University of Rhode Island, one of Healey’s supercargo of scientists, outlined the details at Arctic Frontiers, a scientific conference held in Tromso, Norway, last month. His research, and that of his colleagues, showed that planktonic animals such as copepods (pictured above) and krill were abundant, active and grazing on the still smaller algae of the phytoplankton, themselves adapted to manage with the tiniest sliver of winter light. Instead of hibernating, they were developing. Larvae were turning into adults and a few species were even reproducing. This revelation of life in the middle of the polar night is one of many surprises of recent Arctic science. And that knowledge is changing people’s understanding of the world’s northernmost habitat.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Anne

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 531
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 13
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2015, 05:46:45 PM »
Quote
New photographs of fluorescent sea creatures — including bright orange animals that resemble feather dusters with long, skinny handles, and spongy, neon-pink anemones — on the Arctic seafloor could help researchers determine how much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, will make its way to the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

"When you think about the Arctic, these very cold and deep environments, you don't think about these colors, but some of these organisms are so colorful and beautiful. It's amazing," said Guiliana Panieri, a scientist on the photo-taking expedition and a professor in environment and climate at The Arctic University of Norway.
Quote
High-resolution cameras allowed researchers to capture the first-ever detailed images of the methane seeps on the Arctic seafloor. The scientists also collected samples of seep-dwelling organisms. "These samples will change our perspective," Panieri said.

The expedition collected more than 30,000 images of the seafloor. Panieri said researchers "will produce maps with the mosaic of the seafloor." She and her colleagues also plan to publish findings from the photos in the near future.
Full story, photographs and links to more: http://www.livescience.com/51423-arctic-methane-seeps-sea-creatures.html

vox_mundi

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 6377
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2988
  • Likes Given: 520
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2021, 01:47:01 PM »
Seabirds Starve In Stormy 'Washing Machine' Waves: Study
https://phys.org/news/2021-09-seabirds-starve-stormy-machine.html

Thousands of seabirds that wash up on Atlantic coasts every year could have been starved to death by cyclones that whip up "washing machine" waves, a new study says, with experts warning the phenomenon could worsen with climate change.

Puffins, auks and guillemots—hardy little birds that nest in the Arctic—head south each year to more hospitable but isolated islands off Newfoundland, Iceland or Norway.

But many are found washed up on beaches in mass die-offs that scientists now think are caused by violent winter cyclones that prevent them from feeding.

"Imagine winds blowing at 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph), waves 8 metres high (26 ft) and turbulence in the water that disturbs plankton and schools of fish the birds feed on," said David Gremillet of the French CNRS research institute, which coordinated the study published Tuesday in Current Biology.

Unable to fly clear of the storms, some of which last days, the birds likely cannot dive into the sea to feed or are perhaps unable to see their prey in the troubled waters.

With small reserves of body fat, an auk can die if it goes 48 hours without eating.

And Gremillet said that cyclones, which are expected to increase in "frequency and intensity" with climate change, could become a bigger threat.

North Atlantic winter cyclones starve seabirds, Current Biology (2021).
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)00888-5?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982221008885%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

... Using winter tracking data for ∼1,500 individuals of five key North Atlantic seabird species ... we demonstrated that cyclones of high intensity impacted birds from all studied species and breeding colonies during winter but especially those aggregating in the Labrador Sea, the Davis Strait, the surroundings of Iceland, and the Barents Sea. Our broad-scale analyses suggested that cyclonic conditions do not increase seabird energy requirements, implying that they die because of the unavailability of their prey and/or their inability to feed during cyclones.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― anonymous

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

vox_mundi

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 6377
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2988
  • Likes Given: 520
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2021, 02:58:39 AM »
Valuable Crab Populations Are In a 'Very Scary' Decline In Warming Bering Sea
https://phys.org/news/2021-09-valuable-crab-populations-scary-decline.html

... The collapse in the Bering Sea snow crab population comes amid a decade of rapid climatic changes, which have scrambled one of the most productive marine ecosystems on the planet in ways that scientists are just beginning to understand. The changes are forcing them to reconsider how they develop models to forecast harvest seasons.

As waters warm, some older crab have moved northwest, young crab are being gobbled up by an increased number of predators and disease is on the rise. All of this could be making crab more vulnerable to excessive harvesting, and that has increased concern over the impacts of trawlers that accidentally scoop up crab as they drag nets along the sea floor targeting bottom-dwelling fish.

The forecast for the 2022 winter snow crab season is bleak. At best, it is expected to be considerably less than 12 million pounds. That would be down from a 2021 harvest of 45 million pounds and a fraction of the more than 300 million pounds taken during two peak years in the early 1990s.

The iconic Bering Sea red king crab, which can grow up to 24 pounds with a leg-span up to 5 feet, also are in trouble. In a big blow to the commercial crabbers, many of whom are based in Washington, the October harvest for these crab has been canceled, something that has only happened three times before.

Most of the king crab harvest and snow crab sold in the United States in recent years has been imported from other countries.

... The Bering Sea king crab fishery has a tumultuous history. The annual catch soared to about 130 million pounds in the early 1980s, then crab stocks crashed and the harvest was shut down. Since 1996, in the aftermath of two consecutive years of closures, the harvests have never topped 22 million pounds, and fell to 2.6 million pounds last year.

Ocean conditions are key for scientists studying the decline of Bering Sea crab, which for all species are now estimated to be at their lowest overall levels in more than four decades.

"This is huge," said Bob Foy, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Alaska Fisheries Science Center. "It is a massive shift for our ecosystem in the Bering Sea, and the implications for other fisheries are just starting to be thought through."

He notes snow crab juveniles looked to be on an upward trend just two years ago. Then, in the space of 48 months, they appeared to have imploded by 99%.

One focus of research is the Bering Sea ice that forms each winter, and acts like a giant platform for growing algae at the base of the food chain. As it freezes, the ice sheds a dense layer of cold, briny seawater that eventually forms a cold pool on the bottom, prime conditions for young snow crab.

In some recent winters, there has been a big reduction in the extent and thickness of the ice.

During these weak ice years, the size of the cold pool has shrunk, a retreat closely mapped by federal researchers.

One of the crab's voracious predators—cod—do not like the chill temperatures in the cool pool. The warmer temperatures appear to have made it possible for cod to hunt far more young snow crab, according to Fedewa, who said analysis of cod bellies show they are eating more crab.

"The assumption is that the thermal barriers in cold-water habitat that have protected juvenile snow crab from predators like Pacific cod are basically breaking down," Fedewa said.

King crab also may be suffering from increased predation.

Earlier federal research in the 1980s showed that young Bristol Bay sockeye salmon like to feed on larval king crab. In recent years, there have been a series of strong sockeye runs that may be due, at least in part, to warmer and more favorable conditions in the lakes where they rear before heading to saltwater.

The warming trends in the Bering Sea appear to be increasing the numbers of crab found farther north. The trends, tracked through surveys, are not fully understood.

The fall Bering Sea king crab harvest was canceled because of low numbers of mature females.

But this summer's survey found an increase in mature king crab females in more northern areas. These crab were tallied outside the main survey zone, and thus not used to calculate potential harvests.

Snow crab populations also appear to be shifting.

This last winter, crab skippers reported an unusual harvest season when the main concentrations of snow crab were found some 500 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor, which is about twice the typical distance for February and March fishing.

... "Perhaps Bering Sea crab are an indicator species—the proverbial canary in the coal mine. I don't know. But things are changing, of that we can be certain."
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― anonymous

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Sebastian Jones

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 509
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 133
  • Likes Given: 117
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2021, 06:54:24 AM »
Yes the Bering Sea is warming and yes this is resulting in ecological changes and most likely this is stressing the crabs.
However the complex and naturally resilient ecosystem of the Bering has been trashed and abused by wholesale plunder of ground fish and pollock by massive factory trawlers.
Outside of the Bristol Bay Sockeye fishery, local fishers, especially in Indigenous communities along the coast and up the rivers have empty smoke houses and caches; their livelihoods have been ruined by the big out of state trawlers, and the ecosystem may never recover, at least not until the trawlers have finished raping the sea and over fished until it is no longer profitable.
The situation is an utter horror show to local people, tragic and infuriating at the same time.
The crab fishery is primarily operated by large out of state vessels too.
At this rate, the sea will soon be empty and the villages dead.

vox_mundi

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 6377
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2988
  • Likes Given: 520
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2021, 01:39:19 PM »
another nail in the coffin ...

Study: Growing Potential for Toxic Algal Blooms In the Alaskan Arctic
https://phys.org/news/2021-10-potential-toxic-algal-blooms-alaskan.html



Changes in the northern Alaskan Arctic ocean environment have reached a point at which a previously rare phenomenon—widespread blooms of toxic algae—could become more commonplace, potentially threatening a wide range of marine wildlife and the people who rely on local marine resources for food. That is the conclusion of a new study about harmful algal blooms (HABs) of the toxic algae Alexandrium catenella being published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The study, led by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in collaboration with colleagues from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other researchers in the U.S, Japan, and China, looked at samples from seafloor sediments and surface waters collected during 2018 and 2019 in the region extending from the Northern Bering Sea to the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas north of Alaska. The sediment samples allowed the researchers to count and map Alexandrium cysts—a seed-like resting stage that lies dormant in the seafloor for much of the year, germinating or hatching only when conditions are suitable. The newly germinated cells swim to the surface and multiply using the sun's energy, producing a "bloom" that can be dangerous due to the family of potent neurotoxins called saxitoxins that the free-swimming cells produce.

... The toxin can cause illness and mortality of marine wildlife such as larger fish, marine mammals, and seabirds. This is of particular concern for members of coastal communities in northern and western Alaska who rely on a variety of marine resources for food.

... The authors demonstrate that warming over the last two decades has increased bottom water temperatures in Ledyard Bay and nearby waters by nearly 2°C, sufficient to nearly double the flux of germinated cells from the seafloor and also speeding up the process, thereby advancing bloom initiation by almost three weeks and lengthening the window for favorable growth and bloom formation in surface waters.

"What we're seeing now are very different Arctic Ocean conditions than anyone in living memory has known," said Anderson.

Donald M. Anderson et al, Evidence for massive and recurrent toxic blooms of Alexandrium catenella in the Alaskan Arctic, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021)
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/41/e2107387118
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― anonymous

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

NotaDenier

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 120
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 49
  • Likes Given: 30
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2021, 04:32:44 PM »
https://next.massivesci.com/articles/deep-scattering-layer-sonar-icebreaker-ships-mesopelagic-deep-sea/

We know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean. What about the space between the seafloor and the surface? You know, the ocean? On land, most animals are bound to the surface of the Earth, with only birds and bats dominating the skies. In contrast, the ocean is a three-dimensional environment, where most creatures can swim throughout its volume in all directions. Much of the usable space exists not at the bottom or near the surface, but somewhere in the middle.
In fact, somewhere between 65%-95% of all fish biomass lives in these middle depths. Most of it is not exploited by fisheries, but is invisibly important to us by serving as prey for human-targeted fish as well as many marine mammals and seabirds. With so much space available, the odds of  bumping into these animals are low, so studying them can be difficult. In fact, for a long time the open seas were called “oceanic deserts” because we thought nothing lived there. Even now, we know very little about the fish and other creatures living in what is called the mesopelagic (“middle-sea”) zone.
Some of these animals were discovered by accident. During World War II, sonar technicians noticed their signals bouncing off a dense layer that was shallower than they knew the seafloor to be. They called it a false seafloor, but didn’t know what caused it. As the phenomenon turned up more frequently, technicians dubbed it the deep scattering layer (DSL) because of how it tended to scatter sound waves. It was only when data showed it moving up and down throughout the day that it was found to not have a physical cause, but a biological one: fish and other sea creatures. As hydroacoustic technology became more common, ships and submarines started encountering a DSL in locations all over the world. It was a fairly widespread phenomenon, but didn’t occur everywhere. Now, scientists have discovered a DSL deep under the dense pack ice at the North Pole.

Tor Bejnar

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 4283
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 827
  • Likes Given: 693
Re: Arctic wildlife
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2021, 05:21:21 AM »
Quote
only birds and bats dominating the skies
and some insects, bacteria, arachnids, even the occasional fish, reptile and amphibian.  Don't forget plants (people allergic to pollen might say pollen dominates the skies at times).  I'm sure there's archaea there too.
e.g., https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/the-atmospheric-microbiome/
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things because "we cannot negotiate with the melting point of ice"