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Structure and function of the western Baffin Bay coastal and shelf ecosystem.


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Pedro, Sara; Lemire, Mélanie; Hoover, Carie; Saint-Béat, Blanche; Janjua, Muhammad Y.; Herbig, Jennifer; Geoffroy, Maxime; Yunda-Guarin, Gustavo; Moisan, Marie-Ange; Boissinot, Justin; Tremblay, Jean-Éric; Little, Matthew; Chan, Laurie; Babin, Marcel; Kenny, Tiff-Annie et Maps, Frédéric (2023). Structure and function of the western Baffin Bay coastal and shelf ecosystem. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene , vol. 11 , nº 1. 00015. DOI: 10.1525/elementa.2022.00015.

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Arctic marine species, from benthos to fish and mammals, are essential for food security and sovereignty of Inuit people. Inuit food security is dependent on the availability, accessibility, quality, and sustainability of country food resources. However, climate change effects are threatening Inuit food systems through changes in abundance and nutritional quality of locally harvested species, while foundational knowledge of Arctic food webs remains elusive. Here, we summarized scientific knowledge available for the western Baffin Bay coastal and shelf ecosystem by building a food web model using the Ecopath with Ecosim modeling framework. Based on this model, we calculated ecological network analysis indices to describe structure and function of the system. We used Linear Inverse Modeling and Monte Carlo analysis to assess parameter uncertainty, generating plausible parameterizations of this ecosystem from which a probability density distribution for each index was generated. Our findings suggest that the system is controlled by intermediate trophic levels, highlighting the key role of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) as prey fish, as well as the importance of other less studied groups like cephalopods in controlling energy flows. Most of the ecosystem biomass is retained in the system, with very little lost to subsistence harvest and commercial fisheries, indicating that these activities were within a sustainable range during the modeling period. Our model also highlights the scientific knowledge gaps that still exist (e.g., species abundances), including valued harvest species like Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), walrus (Odobenus rosmarus), and seals, and importantly our poor understanding of the system in winter. Moving forward, we will collaborate with Inuit partners in Qikiqtarjuaq, NU, Canada, to improve this modeling tool by including Inuit knowledge. This tool thus serves as a starting point for collaborative discussions with Inuit partners and how its use can better inform local and regional decision-making regarding food security.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: marine environment; food security; food web; climate change; network analysis; subsistence harvest
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 02 nov. 2023 13:16
Dernière modification: 02 nov. 2023 13:16
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/13694

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