Time series data for Canadian arctic vertebrates: IPY contributions to science, management, and policy
Long-term data are critically important to science, management, and policy formation. Here we describe a number of data collections from arctic Canada that monitor vertebrate population trends of freshwater and marine fish, marine birds, marine and terrestrial mammals. These time series data cover the last ca. 30 years and capture a period from the onset of global changes affecting the Arctic up to recent years with a rapid increase in temperature. While many of these data collections were initiated through a variety of government and university programs, they also include a surge in polar research launched with the recent International Polar Year (2007–2008). We estimated the long-term vertebrate index from our data that summarizes various taxa abundance trends within a global context and observed a continuous decline of about 30 % in population abundance since the 1990s. Though most data collections are biased towards few taxa, we conduct time-series analyses to show that the potential value of long-term data emerges as individual monitoring sites can be spread across space and time scales. Despite covering a handful of populations, the different time series data covered a large spectrum of dynamics, cyclic to non-cyclic, including coherence with the North Atlantic Oscillation, lag effects, and density dependence. We describe a synthesis framework to integrate ecological time-series research and thereby derive additional benefits to management, science, and policy. Future requirements include: (1) continuation of current observation systems; (2) expansion of current monitoring sites to include additional trophic links and taxonomic indicators; (3) expansion beyond the existing program to include greater spatial coverage into less-sampled ecosystems and key representative locations; and (4) integration of circumpolar observations and comprehensive analyses. Development of a circumpolar observation system is necessary for innovative science, large-scale adaptive management, and policy revision essential to respond to rapid global change. Copyright Crown Copyright as represented by: Tanuja Kulkarni 2012
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Volume (Year): 115 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (November)
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