Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 181–194

Impacts of changing sea-ice conditions on Arctic marine mammals


    • Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Christian Lydersen
    • Norwegian Polar Institute
  • James E. Overland
    • NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
  • Sue E. Moore
    • NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service ST7
Arctic Ocean Diversity Synthesis

DOI: 10.1007/s12526-010-0061-0

Cite this article as:
Kovacs, K.M., Lydersen, C., Overland, J.E. et al. Mar Biodiv (2011) 41: 181. doi:10.1007/s12526-010-0061-0


Arctic sea ice has changed dramatically, especially during the last decade and continued declines in extent and thickness are expected for the decades to come. Some ice-associated marine mammals are already showing distribution shifts, compromised body condition and declines in production/abundance in response to sea-ice declines. In contrast, temperate marine mammal species are showing northward expansions of their ranges, which are likely to cause competitive pressure on some endemic Arctic species, as well as putting them at greater risk of predation, disease and parasite infections. The negative impacts observed to date within Arctic marine mammal populations are expected to continue and perhaps escalate over the coming decade, with continued declines in seasonal coverage of sea ice. This situation presents a significant risk to marine biodiversity among endemic Arctic marine mammals.


Climate changeCompetitionConservationExtinction threatHabitat deteriorationManagement

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© Senckenberg, Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2010