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Biogeochemical consequences of a changing Arctic shelf seafloor ecosystem

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Geoffrey AbbottORCiD, Emeritus Professor Neil GrayORCiD, Professor Ian Head, Dr Mark StevensonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Unprecedented and dramatic transformations are occurring in the Arctic in response to climate change,but academic, public, and political discourse has disproportionately focused on the most visible and directaspects of change, including sea ice melt, permafrost thaw, the fate of charismatic megafauna, and the expansion offisheries. Such narratives disregard the importance of less visible and indirect processes and, in particular, miss thesubstantive contribution of the shelf seafloor in regulating nutrients and sequestering carbon. Here, we summarise thebiogeochemical functioning of the Arctic shelf seafloor before considering how climate change and regional adjustments to human activities may alter its biogeochemical and ecological dynamics, including ecosystem function, carbon burial, or nutrient recycling. We highlight the importance of the Arctic benthic system in mitigating climatic and anthropogenic change and, with a focus on the Barents Sea, offer some observations and our perspectives on future management and policy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Marz C, Freitas F, Faust J, Godbold J, Henley S, Tessin A, Abbott GD, Arndt S, Barnes D, Grange L, Gray N, Head I, Hendry K, Hilton R, Reed A, Rhul S, Souster T, Solan M, Stevenson M, Tait K, Widdicombe S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ambio

Year: 2022

Volume: 51

Pages: 370-382

Print publication date: 01/02/2022

Online publication date: 09/10/2021

Acceptance date: 22/09/2021

Date deposited: 12/10/2021

ISSN (print): 0044-7447

ISSN (electronic): 1654-7209

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s13280-021-01638-3


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