Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Invasive alien species in changing marine arctic economies and ecosystems.

Abstract

The rate of change in Arctic marine environments in response to shifts driven by climate change threatens Arctic resilience. The growing recognition and visibility of these changes have scientific and social roots. Mitigating these consequences is therefore a social-scientific concern. Multiple scales, perspectives, and governance systems for Arctic marine environments, alongside receding climate and economic barriers to species movements and scientific research, create challenges and opportunities that differ in magnitude and breadth from marine invasions elsewhere. The receding barriers in the marine Arctic amplify the potential ecological and economic consequences from new species introductions and range expansions from adjacent biomes. While there is consensus that marine invasive species can cause severe damages to ecosystems and resource-dependent communities, which species pose what threats, and to whom, remain complex dynamic socioecological and biogeophysical economic questions. Decisions over prevention, detection, and monitoring along with institutional frameworks for cooperating and responding to threats also affect the expected severity of impacts. Technologies, and costs, for identifying and monitoring species compositions and risks are evolving, with novel research advances as well as increasingly sophisticated ecological-economic, environmental niche, and habitat suitability models. Despite advances in understanding drivers and dynamics of new species introductions, a dearth of baseline knowledge regarding Arctic marine invasions remains. Potential consequences extend beyond ecosystem changes and include legal, institutional, and social shifts. Studies on the red king and snow crab invasions in the Barents Sea from multiple disciplinary angles showcase complex social, economic, and ecological interconnections that are transforming communities and ecosystems.