4.1 Increase knowledge on the distribution and abundance of Arctic marine species across all trophic levels and scales, including an improved understanding of the formation and maintenance of biological hotspots and proximate causes of shifts in range.
An improved understanding of current species’ distribution and abundance relative to historical patterns and ongoing changes is a crucial need for decision-making about commercial activities, developing effective plans for conservation, and ensuring that these species remain available for the nutritional and cultural needs of northern coastal Indigenous communities. This effort will benefit from interagency collaboration because of multi-agency jurisdiction of Arctic marine species and the need for agencies to consider impacts to marine resources when planning and authorizing activities in the Arctic. Many of these projects are conducted in collaboration with State, tribal, and Indigenous entities.
Performance elements from the Arctic research plan
4.1.1 Continue distribution and abundance surveys of Arctic marine species, for example, concurrent monitoring of polar bears and their ice seal prey.
4.1.2 Continue studies to document Arctic marine species biodiversity (e.g. Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observation Network—AMBON—and programs that monitor loss of sea ice) and habitat use in the Arctic. Ensure datasets will be available through open access data portals.
4.1.3 Assess winter distributions of key Arctic species, via passive acoustic sampling and satellite tagging for marine mammals to include further development of autonomous, unmanned surface and underwater vehicles equipped with sensors capable of recording marine mammal vocalizations.