Kirievskaya D. The Chukchi Sea zoobenthos: contemporary conditions and trends in anthropogenic influence. // Principy èkologii. 2017. № 2. P. 15‒27. DOI: 10.15393/

Issue № 2

Original research


The Chukchi Sea zoobenthos: contemporary conditions and trends in anthropogenic influence.

Novgorod State University,
the Chukchi Sea
Summary: The Chukchi Sea is a key region where rapid changes of the Arctic environment have been observed recently. Benthos of the Chukchi Sea is a sensitive indicator of these changes. In addition, the benthos can be used as an indicator of the anthropogenic load on the marine environment. A lot of researches have been conducted in the different parts of the Chukchi Sea. In this paper we summarized all the data collected for the last 30 years to evaluate contemporary conditions of the Chukchi Sea benthos as well as to discuss a potential response of the benthic ecosystem to the anthropogenic load. The Chukchi Sea zoobenthos is characterized by relatively high biodiversity compared to the seas of the western Arctic Ocean. The spatial distribution of zoobenthos is non-uniform. It is caused by a lot of factors: depth, bottom and sediment temperature, geochemical structure of the sediments, hydrodynamics, etc. Present environmental conditions of the Chukchi Sea biota can be considered to be close to the average long-term norms. By the reason of climate change scientists started to observe northing displacement of subarctic and temperate species of the benthic ecosystem. The Chukchi Sea is still included into the area with low anthropogenic pressure. The main potential threat for the Chukchi sea benthos results from continued oil and gas exploration and sea transport. For example, benthos around oil-wells (the Burger and the Klondike) contains pollutants at a high concentration. The risk of rising anthropogenic load on the Chukchi Sea ecosystem poses the problem to additionally identify vulnerable areas of increased ecological significance for later receiving conservation status.

© Petrozavodsk State University

Received on: 12 August 2016
Published on: 04 July 2017


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