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Comparison of the functioning of benthic ‘hotspot’ vs ‘coldspot’ ecosystems in the Canadian Arctic

Heike Link
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During my studies at Heidelberg University, Germany, I developed my interest for evolutionary ecology and marine invertebrates. I started working in benthic ecology with my Master’s Thesis (2006-2007) on the relation between diversity and stability in temperate hard-bottom communities in Chiba, Japan as part of the international field program GAME (Global Approach by Modular Experiments). The outcomes of this study motivated me to further investigate the role of functional diversity.

Philippe Archambault

Institut des sciences de la mer à Rimouski, Université du Québec à Rimouski


Marine Biodiversity, MB-01: Arctic Complexity and Benthic Biodiversity

For this project on the relationship between benthic diversity and ecosystem functioning in relation to changes of environmental factors in the Canadian Arctic I participated in the field campaigns CFL, ArcticNet and Malina. This study uses data on marine biodiversity, benthic boundary fluxes and sediment pigment concentration in the Canadian Arctic (Beaufort Sea, Amundsen Gulf, Barrow Strait, Lancaster Sound, North Water Polynya, Baffin Bay) between ca. 200m and 800m water depth.

The specific project/thesis aims project are:

    1. Test for benthic ecosystem functioning changes with modifications in food availability in response to climate changes through field studies under different ice conditions
    2. Describe intra- and interannual variability of benthic ecosystem functioning in the Canadian Arctic
    3. Describe and compare biodiversity (quantified by a variety of diversity indices) and biomass of macrobenthic communities in areas of enhanced and reduced marine productivity and diversity (‘hotspots‘ vs. ‘coldspots’) in the Canadian Arctic

This project is at the interface between the two CHONe themes ‘Marine Biodiversity’ and ‘Ecosystem Function’. Comparison of ecosystem functioning in polar environments with more theoretic studies will be as interesting as with results gained from deep-sea projects (see R. Belley, A. Robar).


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