AMAP - CAFF Coordinated Monitoring Effort. Status Report, Svolvær, April 2008.

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Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
Wide diversity both latitudinally and longitudinally exists in the aquatic ecosystems of the circumpolar Arctic. Widespread fish species, particularly salmonids of the genus Salvelinus (chars), are key elements of freshwater (lakes, rivers), estuarine, and nearshore marine ecosystems throughout the Arctic. Moreover, chars and related salmonids sustain fisheries and aquaculture, thus are integral to lifestyles of northern peoples. Chars are also keystone ecosystem components occupying many trophic (feeding) levels as secondary, tertiary and higher predators in Arctic ecosystems. Both local and widespread stressors present in the Arctic (e.g., climate change, contaminant loading, hydrocarbon development, exploitation) combine to significantly directly affect chars or their ecosystems (these latter usually with follow-on additional indirect effects on chars). Accordingly, monitoring of char populations provides understanding of change and its causes for both the char populations themselves as well as the aquatic ecosystems they occupy. This project has three over-arching long-term objectives: • Conduct research projects locally and throughout the Arctic to understand char biodiversity, roles of that diversity in aquatic ecosystem structure, function and sustainability, and the effects of stressors, particularly climate change and contaminants, on chars and their ecosystems • Using activities within Canada as an example, develop national summaries of the present char biodi- versity and status, link these with understanding of local and pervasive stressors, and establish trends in change of char biodiversity through appropriate long-term monitoring programmes • Establish an international network linking research and monitoring activities on chars and their eco- systems throughout the Arctic