Predicting the future of coastal marine ecosystems in the rapidly changing Arctic: The potential of palaeoenvironmental records

Maija Heikkilä, Sofia Ribeiro, Kaarina Weckström, Anna J. Pieńkowski

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

7 Citationer (Scopus)


Frozen components on land and in the ocean (sea ice, ice sheets, glaciers and permafrost) form the cryosphere, which, together with the ocean, moderates the physical and chemical habitat for life in the Arctic and beyond. Changes in these components, as a response to rapidly warming climate in the Arctic, are intensely expressed in the coastal zone. These areas receive increased terrestrial runoff while subject to a changing sea-ice and ocean environment. Proxies derived from marine sediment archives provide long-term data that extend beyond instrumental measurements. They are therefore fundamental in disentangling human-driven versus natural processes, changes and responses. This paper (1) provides an overview of current Arctic cryosphere change, (2) reviews state-of-the-art palaeoecological approaches, (3) identifies methodological and knowledge gaps, and (4) discusses the strengths and future potential of palaeoecology and palaeoceanography to respond to societally-relevant coastal marine ecosystem challenges. We utilise responses to an open survey conducted by the Future Earth Past Global Changes (PAGES) working group Arctic Cryosphere Change and Coastal Marine Ecosystems (ACME). Significant research advancements have taken place in recent decades, including the increasingly common use of multi-proxy (multiple lines of evidence) studies, improved understanding of species-environment relationships, and development of novel proxies. Significant gaps remain, however, in the understanding of proxy sources and behaviour, the use of quantitative techniques, and the availability of reference data from coastal environments. We highlight the need for critical methodological refinement, interdisciplinary collaboration on research approaches, and enhanced communication across the scientific community.

Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022


  • Programområde 5: Natur og klima


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