Winners and Losers in a Warming Arctic: Potential Habitat Gain and Loss for Epibenthic Invertebrates of the Chukchi and Bering Seas

Elizabeth Logerwell, NOAA/NMFS/Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division, Seattle, WA, United States, Muyin Wang, University of Washington, Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies, Seattle, WA, United States, Lis Lindal Jorgensen, Institute of Marine Research, Tromso, Norway and Kimberly Rand, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, United States
The waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas are projected to warm over the coming century, with potential adverse consequences for native cold-adapted organisms. How the epibenthic invertebrate community will react to future projected warming is unknown. Data on invertebrate distribution was collected during benthic surveys of the Chukchi and Bering Seas as part of groundfish assessment surveys and ecosystem surveys from 2008-2018. Using current and future modeled seafloor temperatures we investigate whether warming temperatures alone will result in species loss or invasion in the Arctic benthic community. We estimate the proportion of Arctic benthic invertebrate species that will face a reduction in suitable temperature habitat and the proportion that will experience an increase. Our findings will highlight the species and regions most likely to respond (negatively and positively) to warming and may have implications for ecosystem structure in the future.