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Polar Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 1631–1645 | Cite as

Pechora Sea ecosystems: current state and future challenges

  • Alexey SukhotinEmail author
  • Stanislav Denisenko
  • Kirill Galaktionov
Original Paper

Abstract

The south-eastern part of the Barents Sea, conventionally called the Pechora Sea, is among the most peculiar regions of the European Arctic. It is a shallow shelf area that is directly influenced by modified Atlantic and Arctic waters, as well as by freshwater runoff from the Pechora River. Due to its unique environmental features and habitats, the Pechora Sea is regarded as one of the most important areas of the Barents Sea. Rich planktonic and benthic communities, including extensive mussel beds, support large stocks of fish, seals, and walruses, and enormous gatherings of benthos feeding waterfowl. In recent years, economic activities, such as oil and gas production, shipping of crude oil through marine terminals, and ship traffic along the Northern Sea Route, have dramatically increased in the Pechora Sea. These anthropogenic pressures, as well as the observed and predicted natural environmental changes, will most likely affect the sea’s pelagic and benthic ecosystems. Therefore, information on the current state of the Pechora Sea ecosystems is urgently needed to provide baseline reference data, against which possible future shifts can be determined. The research presented in this special issue provides such data on the most important elements of the Pechora Sea ecosystems and adjacent areas and demonstrates the interconnection between these ecosystem components and key environmental factors. Considering the already recorded and potential changes in this region, the observed trends and processes in marine biota can be applied to other low Arctic seas and serve for modelling and predictions of future ecosystem shifts.

Keywords

Arctic Pechora Sea Ecosystems Pollution Climate change 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Some of the presented data have been collected in several expeditions to the Pechora Sea on board of research vessels "Pomor" and "Professor Vladimir Kuznetsov". The excellent work of crews of these ships is greatly acknowledged. While working on this manuscript the authors have been supported by research projects of the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences АААА-А19-119022690122-5, АААА-А19-119020690109-2, АААА-А17-117030310207-3, and by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research grant # 18-05-60157. We thank the Editor-in-Chief of Polar Biology and all the reviewers for their help in preparing this special issue.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexey Sukhotin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stanislav Denisenko
    • 1
  • Kirill Galaktionov
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of SciencesSaint PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Saint Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussia

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