Climate change and ocean acidification are altering marine ecosystems and, from a human perspective, creating both winners and losers. Human responses to these changes are complex, but may result in reduced government investments in regulation, resource management, monitoring and enforcement. Moreover, a lack of peoples' experience of climate change may drive some towards attributing the symptoms of climate change to more familiar causes such as management failure. Taken together, we anticipate that management could become weaker and less effective as climate change continues. Using diverse case studies, including the decline of coral reefs, coastal defences from flooding, shifting fish stocks and the emergence of new shipping opportunities in the Arctic, we argue that human interests are better served by increased investments in resource management. But greater government investment in management does not simply mean more of "business-as-usual." Management needs to become more flexible, better at anticipating and responding to surprise, and able to facilitate change where it is desirable. A range of technological, economic, communication and governance solutions exists to help transform management. While not all have been tested, judicious application of the most appropriate solutions should help humanity adapt to novel circumstances and seek opportunity where possible.
Climate change and increased anthropogenic activities are expected to elevate the potential of introducing nonindigenous species (NIS) into the Arctic. Yet, the knowledge base needed to identify gaps and priorities for NIS research and management is limited. Here, we reviewed primary introduction events to each ecoregion of the marine Arctic realm to identify temporal and spatial patterns, likely source regions of NIS, and the putative introduction pathways. We included 54 introduction events representing 34 unique NIS. The rate of NIS discovery ranged from zero to four species per year between 1960 and 2015. The Iceland Shelf had the greatest number of introduction events (n = 14), followed by the Barents Sea (n = 11), and the Norwegian Sea (n = 11). Sixteen of the 54 introduction records had no known origins. The majority of those with known source regions were attributed to the Northeast Atlantic and the Northwest Pacific, 19 and 14 records, respectively. Some introduction events were attributed to multiple possible pathways. For these introductions, vessels transferred the greatest number of aquatic NIS (39%) to the Arctic, followed by natural spread (30%) and aquaculture activities (25%). Similar trends were found for introductions attributed to a single pathway. The phyla Arthropoda and Ochrophyta had the highest number of recorded introduction events, with 19 and 12 records, respectively. Recommendations including vector management, horizon scanning, early detection, rapid response, and a pan-Arctic biodiversity inventory are considered in this paper. Our study provides a comprehensive record of primary introductions of NIS for marine environments in the circumpolar Arctic and identifies knowledge gaps and opportunities for NIS research and management. Ecosystems worldwide will face dramatic changes in the coming decades due to global change. Our findings contribute to the knowledge base needed to address two aspects of global change-invasive species and climate change.
Rabies is a serious zoonotic disease with significant public health consequences in the circumpolar North. Recent studies have advanced our understanding of the disease ecology in Alaska. In this paper, we review historical records of rabies in Alaska ranging from the late nineteenth century to the present, analyse the public health impact in the state and review studies on disease ecology before assessing challenges and anticipated altered disease dynamics in the face of a rapidly changing North. Rabies is a disease that has been present in Alaska continuously for over 100 years. It is maintained in bats and foxes with the arctic fox likely playing a bigger role in maintaining the virus, although a multi-host system with both red and arctic foxes cannot be excluded. Some modelling evidence suggest a possible decrease in rabies due to a changing climate, although uncertainty is high around these predictions for rabies distribution in Alaska into the future.
We review recent progress in our understanding of the global cycling of mercury (Hg), including best estimates of Hg concentrations and pool sizes in major environmental compartments and exchange processes within and between these reservoirs. Recent advances include the availability of new global datasets covering areas of the world where environmental Hg data were previously lacking; integration of these data into global and regional models is continually improving estimates of global Hg cycling. New analytical techniques, such as Hg stable isotope characterization, provide novel constraints of sources and transformation processes. The major global Hg reservoirs that are, and continue to be, affected by anthropogenic activities include the atmosphere (4.4-5.3 Gt), terrestrial environments (particularly soils: 250-1000 Gg), and aquatic ecosystems (e.g., oceans: 270-450 Gg). Declines in anthropogenic Hg emissions between 1990 and 2010 have led to declines in atmospheric Hg0 concentrations and HgII wet deposition in Europe and the US (- 1.5 to - 2.2% per year). Smaller atmospheric Hg0 declines (- 0.2% per year) have been reported in high northern latitudes, but not in the southern hemisphere, while increasing atmospheric Hg loads are still reported in East Asia. New observations and updated models now suggest high concentrations of oxidized HgII in the tropical and subtropical free troposphere where deep convection can scavenge these HgII reservoirs. As a result, up to 50% of total global wet HgII deposition has been predicted to occur to tropical oceans. Ocean Hg0 evasion is a large source of present-day atmospheric Hg (approximately 2900 Mg/year; range 1900-4200 Mg/year). Enhanced seawater Hg0 levels suggest enhanced Hg0 ocean evasion in the intertropical convergence zone, which may be linked to high HgII deposition. Estimates of gaseous Hg0 emissions to the atmosphere over land, long considered a critical Hg source, have been revised downward, and most terrestrial environments now are considered net sinks of atmospheric Hg due to substantial Hg uptake by plants. Litterfall deposition by plants is now estimated at 1020-1230 Mg/year globally. Stable isotope analysis and direct flux measurements provide evidence that in many ecosystems Hg0 deposition via plant inputs dominates, accounting for 57-94% of Hg in soils. Of global aquatic Hg releases, around 50% are estimated to occur in China and India, where Hg drains into the West Pacific and North Indian Oceans. A first inventory of global freshwater Hg suggests that inland freshwater Hg releases may be dominated by artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM; approximately 880 Mg/year), industrial and wastewater releases (220 Mg/year), and terrestrial mobilization (170-300 Mg/year). For pelagic ocean regions, the dominant source of Hg is atmospheric deposition; an exception is the Arctic Ocean, where riverine and coastal erosion is likely the dominant source. Ocean water Hg concentrations in the North Atlantic appear to have declined during the last several decades but have increased since the mid-1980s in the Pacific due to enhanced atmospheric deposition from the Asian continent. Finally, we provide examples of ongoing and anticipated changes in Hg cycling due to emission, climate, and land use changes. It is anticipated that future emissions changes will be strongly dependent on ASGM, as well as energy use scenarios and technology requirements implemented under the Minamata Convention. We predict that land use and climate change impacts on Hg cycling will be large and inherently linked to changes in ecosystem function and global atmospheric and ocean circulations. Our ability to predict multiple and simultaneous changes in future Hg global cycling and human exposure is rapidly developing but requires further enhancement.
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