Review

Ecological Consequences of Sea-Ice Decline

Science  02 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6145, pp. 519-524
DOI: 10.1126/science.1235225

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Abstract

After a decade with nine of the lowest arctic sea-ice minima on record, including the historically low minimum in 2012, we synthesize recent developments in the study of ecological responses to sea-ice decline. Sea-ice loss emerges as an important driver of marine and terrestrial ecological dynamics, influencing productivity, species interactions, population mixing, gene flow, and pathogen and disease transmission. Major challenges in the near future include assigning clearer attribution to sea ice as a primary driver of such dynamics, especially in terrestrial systems, and addressing pressures arising from human use of arctic coastal and near-shore areas as sea ice diminishes.

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