UK scientists return to the Arctic Ocean to measure climate change threat to marine life
The £16 million UK flagship Changing Arctic Ocean programme sets off today on a scientific cruise to the Arctic Ocean. Funded by NERC, researchers from institutes across the UK are heading to the Fram Strait region between Greenland and Svalbard to look at the effects of warming on Arctic marine life.
With warmer winters across the polar region, the Arctic Ocean is now experiencing year-on-year record lows of sea ice. These changes are having an unprecedented impact on how the Arctic ecosystem operates. Changes to the lower part of the food chain are a serious concern because this is dominated by one type of zooplankton (copepods, small crustaceans the size of a rice grain). As fish and other species rely on zooplankton for their main source of food, the Arctic food chain is precarious in the face of climate change and susceptible to dynamic change.