Boom & bust in the Great White North

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Science  07 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6248, pp. 578-581
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6248.578

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As the ice rapidly recedes from the Arctic, changes are roiling existing ecosystems and opening new opportunities for migrants. Scientists are tracking these shifts at Norway's Ny-Ålesund research station, 1000 kilometers south of the North Pole. Less ice means more light striking the ocean, meaning warmer water and more phytoplankton, including huge new algae blooms. Other beneficiaries include fish as ecosystems shift from a benthic focus (sea floor) to a pelagic one (water column). But organisms like bears and walrus could have a tough time in the new arctic as they rely on ice to hunt or rest.

  • * Ny-Ålesund, Norway