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


Arctic Marine Synthesis. Atlas of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Melanie A. Smith. Audubon Alaska, Anchorage. January 2010. URL: (data obrascheniya 07.06.2017).

Arctic Ocean Synthesis: Analysis of Climate Change Impacts in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas with Strategies for Future Research, Editors: R. Hopcroft, B. Bluhm, R. Grandinger; Institute of Marine Sciense, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. 2008. 184 p.

Benthic progress and bottom fauna, Results of the Third Joint US–USSR Bering and Chukchi Seas Expedition (BERPAC). Summer 1988. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. P. 241–251.

Brude O. W., Moe K. A., Bakken V., Hansson R., Larsen L. H. , Løvås S. M., Thomassen J., Wiig ø. Northern Sea Route Dynamic Environmental Atlas, Editors: Brude O. et al., INSROP working paper No. 99. 1998. 58 p.

Conlan, K.E. and R.G. Kvitek. Recolonization of soft-sediment ice scours on an exposed Arctic coast. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2005. Vol. 286. P. 21–42.

Denisenko S. G. Sirenko B. I. Petryashev V. V. Zoobenthos bioresources of the Chukchi Sea, Tezisy Mezhdunarodnoy nauchnoy konferencii «Morskie issledovaniya polyarnyh oblastey Zemli v Mezhdunarodnom polyarnom godu 2007/08» 21–23 aprelya 2010 g. SPb., 2010. P. 239–240.

Dunton K. H., Grebmeier J. M., Trefry J. H. The benthic ecosystem of the northeastern Chukchi Sea: An overview of its unique biogeochemical and biological characteristics, Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 2014. Vol. 102. P. 1–8. doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2014.01.001.

Feder H. M., Jewett S. C. & Blanchard A. Southeastern Chukchi Sea (Alaska) macrobenthos, Polar Biol. 2007. Vol. 30. P. 261–275.

Fox A. L., Hughes E. A., Trocine R. P., Trefry J. H., McTigue N. D., Lasorsa B. K., and Konar B. Regulation of Zink and Biomagnification of Mercury in Biota of Northeastern Chukchi Sea, Chukchi Sea Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA): Chemical and Benthos Final Report. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Anchorage, AK. P. 67–90 (7/1/2012-11/28/2012).

Golikov A. N. Sirenko B. I. Golikov A. A. Petryashev V. V. Gagaev S. Yu. Distribution of shallow waters benthic invertebrates of the Chukchi Sea on the diving research materials, Fauna i zoogeografiya bentosa Chukotskogo morya. T. 2. Issledovaniya fauny morey. M.: Nauka, 2010. P. 56.

Grebmeier J. M. Shifting patterns of life in the Pacific Arctic and Sub-Arctic seas, Rev. Mar. Sci. 2012. Vol. 4. P. 63–78.

Grebmeier J. M., Barry J. P. The influence of oceanographic processes on pelagic-benthic coupling in polar regions: a benthic perspective, J. Mar. Syst. 1991. P. 495–518.

Grebmeier J. M., Cooper L. W., Feder H. M., and Sirenko B. I. Ecosystem Dynamics of the Pacific-Influenced Northern Bering and Chukchi Seas, Progress in Oceanography. 2006. Vol. 71. P. 331–361.

Harvey H. R., Taylor K. A., Pie H. V., Mitchelmore C. L. Polycyclic aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons in Chukchi Sea biota and sediments and their toxicological response in the Arctic cod, Boreogadus saida, Deep Sea Research. Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 2014. Vol. 102. P. 32–55.

Izrael' Yu. A. Cyban' A. V. Study of the Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea ecosystems. Vyp. 3. SPb.: Gidrometeoizdat, 1992. 182 p.

Jørgensen L. L., Pearson T. H., Anisimova N. A., Gulliksen B., Dahle S., Denisenko S. G., Matishov G. G. Environmental influences on benthic associations of the Kara Sea (Arctic Russia), Polar Biol. 1999. Vol. 22. P. 395–416.

Kedra M., Moritz C., Choy E., David C., Degen R., Duerksen S., Ellingsen I., Górska B., Grebmeier J., Kirievskaya D., van Oevelen D., Piwosz K., Samuelsen A., & Węsławski J. Status and trends in the structure of Arctic benthic food webs, Polar Research. 2015. Vol. 34. doi:

Kirievskaya D. V. Kiyko O. A. Shilin M. B. Assessment of contemporary condition of the bottom ecosystem of the southern Chukchi Sea, Uchenye zapiski Rossiyskogo gosudarstvennogo gidrometeorologicheskogo universiteta. 2012. No. 23. P. 117–125.

Lisicyn A. P. Substance bioidentification in the ocean and sedimentation process, Biodifferenciaciya osadochnogo veschestva v moryah i okeanah. Rostov n/D: Izd-vo RGU, 1986. P. 3–66.

MacDonald, Ian R., et al. Benthic macrofauna and megafauna assemblages in the Arctic deep-sea Canada Basin, Deep Sea Research. Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 2010. P. 136–152.

Neff, J. M. Fate and Effects of Water Based drilling Muds and Cuttings in Cold Water Environments, Report to Shell Exploration and Production Company. Houston, Texas, May 25. 2010. 287 p.

Repayment of debt in civil rehabilitation. URL: (data obrascheniya 15.12.2015).

Schonberg S. V., Janet T. C., and Kenneth H. D. Distribution, abundance, biomass and diversity of benthic infauna in the Northeast Chukchi Sea, Alaska: Relation to environmental variables and marine mammals, Deep Sea Research. Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 2014. Vol. 102. P. 144–163.

Sirenko B. I. Denisenko S. G. Gagaev S. Yu. Petryashev V. V. Benthic community (deeper than 10 m) of the Chukchi sea, Ekosistemy i bioresursy Chukotskogo morya. 2009. Vyp. 64 (72). P. 32–56.

Sirenko B. I. Gagaev S. Yu. Study of benthic fauna in the Chukchi Sea - History and new results of «Rusalca» program expeditions in 2004 and 2005. 2006. URL: http: (data obrascheniya 11.08.2016).

Sirenko B. I. Gagaev S. Yu. Unusual abundance of macrobenthos and Pacific invading species in the Chukchi sea, Biologiya morya. 2007. T. 33. No. 6. ­­­P. 399–407.

Sirenko B. I. State of exploration of the Chukchi Sea fauna, Fauna i zoogeografiya bentosa Chukotskogo morya. T. 2. Issledovaniya fauny morey. SPb.; M.: Nauka, 2010. P. 163–198.

The Arctic sea, Red. I. P. Gramberg, V. L. Ivanov, Yu. E. Pogrebickiy. SPb.: Izd-vo VSEGEI, 2004. 468 p.

Trefry J. H., Trocine R. P., Cooper L. W., Dunton, K. H. Trace metals and organic carbon in sediments of the northeastern Chukchi Sea, Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Vol. 102. 2014. 18-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.07.018

Ushakov P. V. The Chukchi Sea and its benthic fauna, Krayniy Severo-Vostok Soyuza SSR. (B. m.): Izd-vo AN SSSR, 1952. T. 2: Fauna i flora Chukotskogo morya, Pod red. P. V. Ushakova. P. 5–82.

Displays: 4298; Downloads: 861;