Editorial: Effects of Ice Loss on Marine Biodiversity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonFrontiers in Marine Science. 2021, 8, 793020. 10.3389/fmars.2021.793020
The Arctic and Antarctic oceans are undergoing changes in the extent of their sea-ice and ice-shelves (IPCC, in press). These have important impacts on the biodiversity, structure, and function of sea ice biota, pelagic and benthic communities, and will change the composition, distribution, and productivity of all species in these ecosystems (Constable et al., 2014; Lannuzel et al., 2020). Decreasing Arctic sea ice has led to a northwards shift in phytoplankton distributions (Nöthig et al., 2015; Metfies et al., 2016) and phytoplankton blooms were discovered in autumn (Ardyna et al., 2014). Shifts were also observed in the vertical and horizontal distributions of zooplankton communities (Wassmann et al., 2015). In the Antarctic, gigantic icebergs have calved from ice shelves and in some cases, entire ice shelves have collapsed enabling sunlight and currents to reach the underlying benthic communities and providing new space for pelagic ecosystems (e.g., Vernet et al., 2019). The benthic habitats and their faunal inhabitants under floating Antarctic ice shelves are among the least known marine communities on Earth. This Research Topic aimed to address all aspects of marine biodiversity science that introduce new knowledge to improve our understanding of the effects ice loss (sea ice and ice shelf) has on the pelagic and benthic communities in the polar oceans (Figure 1). Contributions were delivered by 61 participating authors providing up-to-date information on the species richness and biogeographic responses in marine biodiversity adapted to ice-covered environments, on their phylogeographic relationships and how they affect biogeochemical cycles, on the status of the effects of ice loss on marine biogeochemistry and biodiversity on regional and global scales, on how feedbacks and controls could change these systems and ultimately, on what new conditions might be present in these regions on decadal and longer time scales.