Climate change effects on aquatic biota, ecosystem structure and function. Academic Article uri icon


  • Climate change is projected to cause significant alterations to aquatic biogeochemical processes, (including carbon dynamics), aquatic food web structure, dynamics and biodiversity, primary and secondary production; and, affect the range, distribution and habitat quality/quantity of aquatic mammals and waterfowl. Projected enhanced permafrost thawing is very likely to increase nutrient, sediment, and carbon loadings to aquatic systems, resulting in both positive and negative effects on freshwater chemistry. Nutrient and carbon enrichment will enhance nutrient cycling and productivity, and alter the generation and consumption of carbon-based trace gases. Consequently, the status of aquatic ecosystems as carbon sinks or sources is very likely to change. Climate change will also very likely affect the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems across most of the Arctic. The magnitude, extent, and duration of the impacts and responses will be system- and location-dependent. Projected effects on aquatic mammals and waterfowl include altered migration routes and timing; a possible increase in the incidence of mortality and decreased growth and productivity from disease and/or parasites; and, probable changes in habitat suitability and timing of availability.

publication date

  • November 2006

published in