Chair: Rachel Downey and Yulia Zaika
Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen, Professor, Barents Chair in Politics, University of Tromsø-The Arctic University of Norway / Senior Researcher, Aalborg University / Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Security and Development Policy (Stockholm) / Affiliate Researcher, University of Iceland
Abstract: This presentation discusses the importance of shared and co-created knowledge between Polar states, Arctic local and indigenous communities and global public and private actors.
Polar regions have for a long time been integrated into the international political and economic system. First, the talk discusses, global (Polar) knowledge with stress on “global”. This knowledge highlights the need of Polar states, Arctic local and indigenous communities to understand how globalization affects Polar regions. Arctic local and indigenous communities must understand globalization in order to effectively participate and represent themselves in these processes. Empirical examples here are onsite, outside, virtual and hybrid education in Polar and local Arctic communities. Globalization poses new challenges to Polar and local Arctic education and adult education.Second, the presentation discusses (global) Polar knowledge with stress on Polar. Outside actors are quickly becoming more engaged in Polar regions. These public and private actors must quickly build up Polar knowledge to allow them to operate in Polar regions a constructive and legitimate way.
Third, one can put equal stress on global and Polar to indicate knowledge about the Polar that is global in the sense of being everywhere and possessed by everybody. Such knowledge is shared and co-created. Shared and co-created knowledge is the outcome of uniting the two above efforts and greatly contributes to these efforts. Joint education and research between outside and Polar partners is the future for co-creating shared knowledge of Polar regions. However, this co-creating raises challenges from the unequal demographic and economic position of the two sides.
GEOLOGICAL / ENVIRONMENTAL / TERRESTRIAL / CRYOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENTS
Aurelien Mordret, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
Abstract: The Greenland ice sheet presently accounts for ~70% of global ice sheet mass loss. Because this mass loss is associated with sea level rise at a rate of 0.7 mm/yr, the development of improved monitoring techniques to observe ongoing changes in ice sheet mass balance is of paramount concern. Spaceborne mass balance techniques are commonly used; however, they are inadequate for many purposes due to their low spatial and/or temporal resolution. We demonstrate that small variations in seismic wave speed in Earth's crust, as measured with the correlation of seismic noise, may be used to infer seasonal ice sheet mass balance. Seasonal loading and unloading of glacial mass induces strain in the crust, and these strains then result in seismic velocity changes due to poroelastic processes. Our method provides a new and independent way to monitor (in near real-time) ice sheet mass balance, yielding new constraints on ice sheet evolution and its contribution to global sea-level changes. An increased number of seismic stations in the vicinity of ice sheets will enhance our ability to create detailed space-time records of ice mass variations.
17:45 - 18:00 GMT: Presence of heavy elements in Machu Picchu Peruvian Antarctic Scientific Base. Crepin Point, King George Island.
Luis Cerpa, Wai Lon NG, Daniel Torres, Maria Morales, Instituto Geologico Minero y Metalúrgico - INGEMMET, Peru
Abstract: The Peruvian Antarctic Scientific Station situated in Crepin Point, has been used and visited by scientists and base personnel during the austral summers since 1989. It is not a permanent scientific station, unlike Brazil or Poland, the nearest scientific stations to the Peruvian base. However, the human presence, although sporadic, has an impact on this fragile ecosystem.
18:00 - 18:15 GMT: Opening Pandora’s Box at the Roof of the World: Environmental Disruption and its impact on Global Health
Barbara C. Canavan, PhD, Oregon State University, United States
Abstract: Across the vast permafrost landscape of the Tibetan plateau (known as the Roof of the World), the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (QTR) commenced operation in 2006 as the longest high-elevation railway in the world. Even the greatest rail construction ventures in history, in the American West and the Siberian East, do not match the technical achievement of the QTR. At over 4,000 meters above sea level, the diesel-powered “permafrost rooster” provides passenger carriages, fitted with oxygen systems, that traverse the frozen ground at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour. However, less than ten years after construction, the shifting permafrost now threatens the operation of this $4.2 billion engineering marvel. Environmental and global health challenges at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are profound and include a changing climate that is the most rapid on earth outside the poles, environmental degradation, and the emergence of novel strains of avian influenza. In this respect, the QTR is a contemporary metaphor for a post-industrial world where nature, culture, and technology interact in increasingly complex and unexpected ways. As a place at the crossroads of interconnected global phenomena such as avian influenza and climate change, Qinghai provides a lens to envision the unintended consequences of natural and human forces over the coming decades. The challenge is to understand the context and linkages among complex phenomena that operate at multiple spatial and temporal scales. This presentation offers a snapshot of cold regions science, global health research, and geopolitics within Tibet’s contested border region. The presentation also demonstrates methods to consolidate and compare findings across disciplinary fields and to communicate the results to broad audiences.
Bunu Sharma & Stephen Dery, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada
Abstract: Hudson Bay (HB) in northern Canada has experienced changing volumes and seasonality of streamflows in the last 100 years. These shifts may be due to changing snow accumulation and ablation regimes. This study quantifies the changing contribution of snow to river discharge from 20 major river basins draining into HB (including James Bay) between 1980 and 2013. The analysis is based on daily snow water equivalent (SWE) data from GlobSnow, and daily streamflow data from the Water Survey of Canada, Hydro-Québec, and Le Centre d’Expertise Hydrique du Québec. The contribution of snowmelt to streamflow generation is estimated from the ratio of water year maximum SWE to runoff. The Mann-Kendall test is performed for evaluation of trends and their significance. In HB, the snowmelt contribution to streamflow generation during 1980 to 2013 decreased by 15.9% (34 yr)-1 and changes in hydrological conditions are observed. The potential impacts of these changes on ecological and socio-economic systems across much of Canada’s North are discussed.
BIOLOGICAL - MARINE / FRESHWATER / TERRESTRIAL
Jesse Colangelo, McGill University, Canada
Abstract: Viruses are a primary driver of microbial mortality and influence carbon cycling in the global ocean. The impacts of viruses on their microbial hosts and aqueous chemistry in low energy environments are less well explored, but inform our understanding of the controls on microbially mediated biogeochemical cycling and microbial ecology across biomes. We employed a set of in situ time series experimental incubations with chemicals targeted to specific microbial physiological processes to explore various elements of viral community dynamics in two low energy hypersaline springs of the Canadian High Arctic. We found microbial and viral populations in dynamic equilibrium, low rates of in situ microbial growth (0.5 to 50 x 103 cells cm−3 h−1) and viral decay (0.09 to 170 x 104 virions cm−3 h−1), infer equivalent low rates of viral production, and found a large fraction of the viral community refractory to decay (49 to 100%). Microcosms amended with organic carbon generally exhibited increased microbial growth (0.04 to 3-fold) indicating this nutrient as a limiting resource. A substantial fraction of the microbial population contained inducible prophage (31 to 47%) that were released in multiple pulses over the course of eight days following chemical induction. Our findings indicate that viruses in low energy systems maintain low rates of production and activity, have only a small impact on microbial mortality (7 to 16%) and shunting organic carbon, and may be dominated by non-lethal replication strategies. Extrapolated to cold, low energy marine systems of similar character (i.e. deep subsurface sediments), viruses may be a relatively minor driver of community mortality and diversity compared to less energy-limited environments such as the marine water column or surface sediments.
18:45 - 19:00 GMT: Incorporating ecosystem modeling into the marine protected area planning process for the Western Antarctic Peninsula Region
Adrian Dahood and Kim de Mutsert, Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, United States
Abstract: Well-designed marine protected areas (MPAs) help preserve biodiversity and contribute to the management of sustainable fisheries. MPAs may be particularly important in environments where sea ice loss is rapidly increasing areas available to fisheries. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has recognized that establishing MPAs could help achieve its conservation and fisheries management goals. CCAMLR has adopted one MPA, and has agreed on a framework of objectives to be met by future MPAs. Two of these objectives relate to preserving ecosystem processes and functions. The existing Antarctic MPA used species distribution maps and spatial optimization software to determine areas that efficiently met conservation goals while minimizing negative impacts on fisheries. This design process assumed that if the areas where species are often observed are protected, then ecosystem processes and functions would also be protected. This assumption has not been tested. The current work seeks to augment the MPA planning process for the Western Antarctic Peninsula Region by explicitly including food web modeling in the MPA design process. The software package Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) allows for the development of a time dynamic and spatially explicit food web model that can evaluate potential MPA boundaries. EwE can model the impact of proposed MPA boundaries on species’ biomass accumulation and thus test if proposed MPA boundaries would preserve modeled ecosystem processes and functions. We have created a balanced food web model (Ecopath) for the Western Antarctic Peninsula region, with which we have performed temporal dynamic simulations using Ecosim. The model successfully recreates historic trends in abundance for key monitored species such as pygoscelid penguins and krill (Euphausia superba). We will discuss key trophic linkages illustrated by the model and important considerations for advancing to a spatially explicit model that can be used in the MPA planning process.
19:00 - 19:15 GMT: Habitat requirements for vertebrate herbivores along the leading edge of expanding ranges in the Arctic
Jiake DJ Zhou, University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States
Abstract: Climate change and the resulting expansion of shrubs appear to be driving animal community distribution changes in the Arctic. Shrubs have multiple functions in ecosystems, including provision of food and cover for wildlife. A better understanding of the relative importance of forage and cover is needed to accurately predict the response of vertebrate herbivore communities to shrub expansion. We examined patterns of browsing by three vertebrate herbivores — moose (Alces alces), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), and ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus, L. muta) — in the Brooks Range and North Slope of Alaska to test hypotheses about the relative importance of shrub forage versus shrub cover in controlling herbivores’ successful establishment in habitat patches. We also examined the potential for competition among this guild of shrub-dependent species. If food provisioning is the most important function of shrubs, then we predict that hares and ptarmigan will have a lower threshold for occurrence and broader distribution than moose. Conversely, if cover from predators is the most important function, then we predict that hares and ptarmigan will be restricted to areas with abundant shrubs like moose. We recorded shrub characteristics and browsing levels at 59 sites along a 568 km riparian transect spanning from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Coast. Shrub height was the best predictor of occurrence for all three species. Habitat threshold for hare occurrence (≥ 87 cm, 95% CI: 67 – 94) was similar to that for moose (≥ 81 cm, 95% CI: 65 - 96), whereas ptarmigan were nearly ubiquitous (≥ 3 cm, lower 95% CI = 0). Diet overlap among herbivores was nearly complete. Our findings indicate that cover provided by shrubs is driving changes in the distribution of hares, whereas forage availability appears to determine the distribution of ptarmigan in the Arctic. Resource competition may further affect distribution patterns within this guild as shrub cover continues to expand.
Chair: Rachel Downey and Yulia Zaika