Lead: Marta Coll, NIVA (ICM-CSIC, ES)

Objective 4.1. Quantify main structural and functional features of shallow and deep ecosystems associated with kelp export. Ecological modelling has emerged as a highly suitable tool to integrate available biological data with the final objective to obtain an overall picture of how ecosystems are structured and how they function (Link 2011). This overall picture is the first step to move towards the development of future scenarios for natural ecosystems. In KELPEX we will use a combination of two modelling techniques to advance on the knowledge on how the shallow and deep ecosystems associated with kelp exports are structured and how the function under present conditions and future change. To develop the ecological models we will integrate data and results obtained during WP1-2 and 3, in addition to other information available from the literature and previous monitoring and sampling campaigns. Experts on the ecosystems will be consulted to retrieve their knowledge on main species occurring in the ecosystems, main drivers and main historical changes (following Coll et al. 2014).

Objective 4.2. Assess how changes in kelp export translate into changes in structure and functioning of adjacent shallow and deep ecosystems. After proper validation, ecological models are useful tools to develop future simulations of change (Christensen 2013). In KELPEX, ecological models developed under Objective 4.1 will be used to develop simulations of kelp export change associated with climate change scenarios. The impact of these changes will be assessed by analyzing the robustness of shallow and deep ecosystems food web components and properties to simulated changes in kelp production and export. Finally, potential changes in ecosystem services will be quantified (such as changes in food provisioning and ecosystem stability).

Kelp export: fuel for adjacent communities in changing arctic ecosystems