EVALUATING MECHANISTIC COMPONENTS OF INVERTEBRATE PRODUCTIVITY TO ASSESS POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON WETLANDS OF THE ARCTIC COASTAL PLAIN
On the Arctic Coastal Plain, wetlands – including deep troughs, shallow polygons, and larger coalescent ponds – provide important invertebrate forage for fish and bird species. Unlike wetlands at more southern latitudes, however, there is little ecological information about Arctic wetland invertebrates, and factors that regulate their abundance are poorly understood. Yet this type of knowledge is needed to accurately predict how wetland-dependent fish and wildlife will respond to changing environmental conditions across the Arctic. To address questions related to invertebrate ecology and climate-mediated changes in productivity of Arctic wetlands, we collected data from 33 wetlands in northern Alaska and specifically tested for linkages between water chemistry, autotroph abundance, temperature, and abundance of key nektonic taxa. Our results show that abundances of these invertebrates vary considerably within and across wetlands, and that accurate assessments of abundance require careful consideration of this variability. Although factors that influence invertebrate abundance are variable among taxa, groups that represent key food items for consumers (Diptera, Branchiopoda) became less abundant as pond temperatures increased, suggesting that direct effects of ongoing climate change on Arctic wetland invertebrates may have consequences for consumers that prey upon them.
Kirsty Gurney (Primary Presenter/Author), Environment & Climate Change Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Mark Wipfli (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Alaska Fairbanks, email@example.com;
Joshua Koch (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Joel Schmutz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, email@example.com;
Joshua Schmidt (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. National Park Service, firstname.lastname@example.org;