Human impacts

The Barents Sea experiences climatic change and reduced ice cover. As consequence, the formerly ice-covered northern parts of the Barents Sea become increasingly accessible to human activities such as fishing, shipping, tourism and petroleum exploration.

Hypothesis: The multiple pressures of climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and fisheries will jointly and non-additively influence the ecosystem of the northern Barents Sea and the adjacent slope to the Arctic Basin.

The Human Impacts work package takes a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the impact of human activities on the Barents Sea ecosystem in the past, present and future. The approach includes field observations, experimental work including combined effects, existing models and new innovative model development within and across the main impacts of ocean acidification, contaminants and effect of fisheries. More concretely, the work package addresses the following tasks:

  • Ocean acidification: Determine the current and past magnitude, variability and drivers of ocean acidification and its effect on bio-availability of essential nutrients and metals. Assess the consequences of ocean acidification for key ecosystem species and indicator species of ocean acidification effects.
  • Pollution: Determine the sensistive physical and biological drivers of food web biomagnification, and effects of contaminants in target species of the marine food web of the northern Barents Sea.
  • Harvesting: Incorporate new knowledge about climate-driven ecological and genetic changes in fish communities, e.g. from observations during winter/spring in ice-covered areas, into population, multi-species, and ecosystem models that quantify the combined effects of climate and harvesting.

The work package is a fundamental part of the Nansen Legacy since it will provide knowledge for precautionary management of these expanding activities.