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A Workshop to Develop a Conceptual Model of the Future High Arcitc Marine Ecosystem


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Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

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Science / project summary

Diminishing sea ice cover and ocean acidification are altering the Arctic Ocean ecosystem and contributing to substantial economic and cultural changes in the region. The significance of those changes has been highlighted in the United States where the Arctic Ocean was identified as one of the nine priority objectives in the National Ocean Policy and internationally by the Arctic Council which is working cooperatively in the Arctic on ecosystem based management, oil spill prevention and response, and search and rescue. From those fora interest had grown for coordinating studies of the arctic marine ecosystem and how it is likely to change in the face of global climate change, offshore energy exploration and development, and increasing acidification. This workshop will facilitate discussion among approximately 20 synthetic thinkers to develop a conceptual model of the arctic marine ecosystem, and to develop hypotheses about how that system is likely to change in the coming decades. This workshop will begin to assemble an overview of the system such that individual efforts of several Federal agencies can be more efficiently planned and complement one another to further our understanding of the overall system and its likely responses to changing conditions. An important step in the design of a research program in arctic marine ecosystems is the development of a common conceptual model of what the Arctic may look like in the future, what the main information needs will be, and how a coordinated research program aimed at addressing these needs could be implemented. The broader impacts expected from this workshop include an opportunity for the research community to discuss ideas that contribute to a better understanding of how contemporary arctic physical, biological, and human ecosystems may change over the next few decades, and of how anthropogenic activities can be directed to mitigate human and natural impacts on the ecosystem and facilitate human adaptations.