Invasive species are one of the leading global conservation concerns, which can have strong, negative impacts on ecosystems, vulnerable species, and valuable natural resources. Arctic regions have experienced a relatively low number of biological introductions to date. Their geographical remoteness, cold waters, and presence of sea ice present challenging conditions for both non-native organisms and the vessels that transport them, presumably leading to low rates of introduction and establishment. However, observed increases in water temperatures reductions in sea ice, and projected increases in shipping traffic are expected to render arctic marine regions more susceptible to the arrival and colonization of new species. Risk assessments for these Arctic regions are important to inform management and monitoring priorities by determining which species pose the greatest risk. Our risk assessment for the Bering Sea sought to identify 1) which marine species have the greatest risk for invasion; 2) areas in the Bering Sea with the greatest risk of invasion and species establishment; 3) which ports are most likely to serve as an entry point into Alaska’s Bering Sea.
As part of this project, we created habitat suitability maps using downscaled climate models and species' temperature and salinity thresholds. For each species, we evaluated a) the number of weeks with suitable survival habitat; b) whether each species could survive year-round; c) the number of consecutive weeks with suitable reproductive habitat. We conducted these analyses for two, 10-year study periods: current (2003-2012) and future (2030-2039).
1) Occurrence records of all non-native marine species that occur in the Bering Sea and in nearby ecosystems. This file was used to populate our list of potential invasive species
2) Individual taxa data for a) year-round survival; b) weekly survival; c) reproduction. Contains habitat suitability predictions for each species, climate model, and study period that we considered.
3) The Bering Sea Habitat Suitability Model Atlas, which provides side-by-side maps of each model-study period combination for each taxon we considered.
4) All taxa data- Individual taxa rasters were combined to evaluate the total number of species that have suitable survival or reproduction habitat in the Bering Sea. Rasters are provided for each model-study period combination. Model-averaged rasters used in our publication are also provided.
Using species’ published physiological tolerances, we mapped habitat suitability under current and future climate scenarios to identify geographic areas of current and future concern. In addition, we described shipping traffic from commercial and fishing vessels to identify ports of entry for non-native species.
Data and Resources
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