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Historical analysis of sea ice conditions in M'Clintock Channel and the Gulf of Boothia, Nunavut: Implications for ringed seal and polar bear habitat

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature276033
Source
Arctic. 2004 Mar;57(1):1-14
Publication Type
Article
Date
Mar-2004
  1 website  
Author
Barber, DG
Iacozza, J
Source
Arctic. 2004 Mar;57(1):1-14
Date
Mar-2004
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Climate variability
Gulf of Boothia
M'Clintock Channel
Nunavut
Phoca hispida
Polar bear
Ringed seal habitat
Sea ice
Ursus maritimus
Abstract
Sea ice is an integral part of the marine ecosystem in the Arctic and important habitat for ringed seals and polar bears. To study changes in sea ice characteristics indicative of ringed seal habitat (and linked, through predator/prey relationships, to polar bear habitat), we examined historical changes in sea ice concentration and type within M'Clintock Channel and the Gulf of Boothia, two regions of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, during 1980-2000. Results suggest large interannual variability in winter ice conditions over the 21-year study period. In M'Clintock Channel, first-year ice types dominated consistently, while in the Gulf of Boothia, thick ice types dominated in some years. For breakup and consolidation, the regional spatial patterns differed significantly, occurring in opposite directions (N-S vs. S-N) in the two regions. The dates showed considerable interannual variability in both regions, suggesting no clear pattern of either earlier breakup or later consolidation. Analysis of satellite data confirmed the results obtained from digital ice charts. Ringed seal habitat suitability indices (HSI) indicate that both regions contained primary, secondary, and tertiary HSI classes. No trends were evident in the secondary or tertiary classes, but changes in the primary class were evident in M'Clintock Channel over the five-year period 1997-2001. Dynamic and thermodynamic sea ice processes are important to ringed seal habitat (and ultimately, polar bear habitat) at regional and hemispheric scales in the current context of climate variability and change.
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Novel terrestrial haul-out behaviour by ringed seals (Pusa hispida) in Svalbard, in association with harbour seals (Phoca vitulina).

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature297161
Source
Polar Research. 36:1. 7 p.
Publication Type
Article
Date
2017
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=zpor20 Polar Research ISSN: (Print) 1751-8369 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/zpor20 Novel terrestrial haul-out behaviour by ringed seals (Pusa
  1 document  
Author
Lydersen, Christian
Vaquie-Garcia, Jade
Lydersen, Espen
Christensen, Guttorm N.
Kovacs, Kit M.
Source
Polar Research. 36:1. 7 p.
Date
2017
Language
English
Geographic Location
Norway
Publication Type
Article
File Size
1607240
Keywords
Arctic
Ringed seals
Harbour seals
Svalbard
Behavioural plasticity
Climate change
Glacier fronts
Lagoons
Sea ice
Abstract
Ringed seals (Pusa hispida) are the most ice-associated of all Arctic pinnipeds. In the Svalbard area, this species has always given birth, moulted and rested on sea ice. In addition, much of their food has been comprised of ice-associated prey. Recently, ringed seals have been reported to be using terrestrial substrates as a haul-out platform in some fjords on the west coast of Spitsbergen. In many cases the seals involved are harbour seals (Phoca vitulina), which are extending their distribution into new areas within the Svalbard Archipelago and which are being misclassified as ringed seals. However, this study reports that terrestrial haulout by ringed seals is also now taking place on rocks exposed at low tide as well as on the coastline. Recent intrusions of warm Atlantic Water (with associated prey) have extended deep into the fjords of western Spitsbergen, resulting in deteriorated ice conditions for ringed seals and expanded habitat for harbour seals. Over the last decade, ringed seals have become more and more confined in coastal areas to narrow bands in front of tidal glacier fronts where Arctic conditions still prevail. In one lagoon area, ringed seals are hauling out on intertidal mud flats in close association with harbour seals. Land can likely replace sea-ice for many of the ringed seals haul-out needs. However, for the small dry-cold adapted ringed seal pups that are normally born in snow lairs on the sea ice, terrestrial haul-out is unlikely to be a viable solution because of predation and thermoregulatory stress.
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Persistent organic pollutants and mercury in marine biota of the Canadian Arctic: an overview of spatial and temporal trends

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature293123
Source
Science of the total environment 2005 (351-352)pages 4-56
Publication Type
Article
Date
2005
  1 website  
Author
Braune, BM
Outridge, PM
Fisk, AT
Muir, DCG
Helm, PA
Hobbs, K
Hoekstra, PF
Kuzyk, ZA
Kwan, M
Letcher, RJ
Lockart, W.L.
Norstrom, RJ
Stern, GA
Stirling, I
Source
Science of the total environment 2005 (351-352)pages 4-56
Date
2005
Language
English
Geographic Location
Canada
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Arctic
Canadian Arctic
Chemical contaminants
Marine ecosystem
Organochlorines
Mercury
PCBs
Seabirds
Beluga
Ringed seals
Temporal trends
Abstract
This review summarizes and synthesizes the significant amount of data which was generated on mercury (Hg) and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Canadian Arctic marine biota since the first Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report (CACAR) was published in 1997. This recent body of work has led to a better understanding of the current levels and spatial and temporal trends of contaminants in biota, including the marine food species that northern peoples traditionally consume. Compared to other circumpolar countries, concentrations of many organochlorines (OCs) in Canadian Arctic marine biota are generally lower than in the European Arctic and eastern Greenland but are higher than in Alaska, whereas Hg concentrations are substantially higher in Canada than elsewhere. Spatial coverage of OCs in ringed seals, beluga and seabirds remains a strength of the Arctic contaminant data set for Canada. Concentrations of OCs in marine mammals and seabirds remain fairly consistent across the Canadian Arctic although subtle differences from west to east and south to north are found in the proportions of various chemicals. The most significant development since 1997 is improvement in the temporal trend data sets, thanks to the use of archived tissue samples from the 1970s and 1980s, long-term studies using archeological material, as well as the continuation of sampling. These data cover a range of species and chemicals and also include retrospective studies on new chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers. There is solid evidence in a few species (beluga, polar bear, blue mussels) that Hg at some locations has significantly increased from pre-industrial times to the present; however, the temporal trends of Hg over the past 20-30 years are inconsistent. Some animal populations exhibited significant increases in Hg whereas others did not. Therefore, it is currently not possible to determine if anthropogenic Hg is generally increasing in Canadian Arctic biota. It is also not yet possible to evaluate whether the recent Hg increases observed in some biota may be due solely to increased anthropogenic inputs or are in part the product of environmental change, e.g., climate warming. Concentrations of most "legacy" OCs (PCBs, DDT, etc.) significantly declined in Canadian Arctic biota from the 1970s to the late 1990s, and today are generally less than half the levels of the 1970s, particularly in seabirds and ringed seals. Chlorobenzenes and endosulfan were among the few OCs to show increases during this period while summation operatorHCH remained relatively constant in most species. A suite of new-use chemicals previously unreported in Arctic biota (e.g., polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), perfluoro-octane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs)) has recently been found, but there is insufficient information to assess species differences, spatial patterns or food web dynamics for these compounds. Concentrations of these new chemicals are generally lower than legacy OCs, but there is concern because some are rapidly increasing in concentration (e.g., PBDEs), while others such as PFOS have unique toxicological properties, and some were not expected to be found in the Arctic because of their supposedly low potential for long-range transport. Continuing temporal monitoring of POPs and Hg in a variety of marine biota must be a priority.
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