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Co-chairs: Virginie Galindo (Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski)

Zou Zou Kuzyk (University of Manitoba/CEOS)

 

The coastal domain, where terrestrial and marine ecosystems connect, is of great ecological and human importance across the Arctic. Coastal ecosystems are scientifically fascinating because of their physical and geochemical variability and biological diversity. These environments are often, although not always, characterized by riverine influence which affects the chemical properties of water, as well as the diversity and the productivity of ice-algal associated, pelagic and benthic communities from winter to summer. Freshwater inputs from rivers or other sources (glacial or sea-ice melt) can have opposite effects on coastal seawaters in different circumstances, in some places stimulating primary production due to input of bio-limiting elements, and, in other places, inhibiting primary production because of reduced water clarity or reduced upward mixing of nutrients due to increased stratification. In addition, coastal areas are more affected by wind-driven waves and tidal currents, modifying the physical properties of the water column as well as the sediment dynamics (resuspension). Arctic coastal areas undergo change in response to both ice and ocean changes and the suite of changes occurring in northern watersheds.

Because Arctic coastal and nearshore areas are among the most difficult to access areas for scientific studies, it is a challenge to adequately capture the spatial and seasonal variability in these ecosystems. Studies employing a wide variety of methods including satellite remote sensing, imagery captured from drones, in situ sampling and monitoring informed by Indigenous Knowledge are all starting to address this gap. The purpose of this session is to share new knowledge of coastal and nearshore oceanography, habitats and environmental change from across all northern areas in order to better understand and predict how these areas respond to environmental changes. Studies ranging from the molecular through to ecosystem scale, as well as empirical- and model- based studies are welcome.