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Trait-based approaches in rapidly changing ecosystems: a roadmap to the future polar oceans

Trait-based approaches in rapidly changing ecosystems: a roadmap to the future polar oceans
Trait-based approaches in rapidly changing ecosystems: a roadmap to the future polar oceans

Polar marine regions are facing rapid changes induced by climate change, with consequences for local faunal populations, but also for overall ecosystem functioning, goods and services. Yet given the complexity of polar marine ecosystems, predicting the mode, direction and extent of these consequences remains challenging. Trait-based approaches are increasingly adopted as a tool by which to explore changes in functioning, but trait information is largely absent for the high latitudes. Some understanding of trait–function relationships can be gathered from studies at lower latitudes, but given the uniqueness of polar ecosystems it is questionable whether these relationships can be directly transferred. Here we discuss the challenges of using trait-based approaches in polar regions and present a roadmap of how to overcome them by following six interlinked steps: (1) forming an active, international research network, (2) standardizing terminology and methodology, (3) building and crosslinking trait databases, (4) conducting coordinated trait-function experiments, (5) implementing traits into models, and finally, (6) providing advice to management and stakeholders. The application of trait-based approaches in addition to traditional species-based methods will enable us to assess the effects of rapid ongoing changes on the functioning of marine polar ecosystems. Implementing our roadmap will make these approaches more easily accessible to a broad community of users and consequently aid understanding of the future polar oceans.

Climate change, Ecosystem functioning, Functional traits, Marine, Polar regions, Trait database
1470-160X
722-736
Degen, Renate
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Aune, Magnus
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Bluhm, Bodil A.
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Cassidy, Camilla
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Kędra, Monika
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Kraan, Casper
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Vandepitte, Leen
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Włodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria
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Zhulay, Irina
56682b6b-4c3f-476e-8173-c8d8f0e6942b
Albano, Paolo G.
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Bremner, Julie
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Grebmeier, Jacqueline M.
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Link, Heike
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Morata, Nathalie
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Nordström, Marie C.
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Shojaei, Mehdi Ghodrati
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Sutton, Lauren
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Zuschin, Martin
3bf2b4bd-85ce-4305-8c5c-53ae964b232e
Degen, Renate
ce86eecb-0d02-4be7-a83a-56b508a887a8
Aune, Magnus
4fe03b1b-d7f2-4584-a286-85a61d300070
Bluhm, Bodil A.
7cdfe108-5b55-4f1a-afee-73157ad037e7
Cassidy, Camilla
66de2947-e3b7-4817-9ece-763810723d8b
Kędra, Monika
24171ffc-5cbb-4fad-994e-d05cb7c3c3ec
Kraan, Casper
0daa9a4c-d779-41e9-9664-9feca72b541e
Vandepitte, Leen
75d6fcee-0c55-410e-9504-17e6c1e849f6
Włodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria
dfa08477-d98c-4224-b037-33456a7c64ae
Zhulay, Irina
56682b6b-4c3f-476e-8173-c8d8f0e6942b
Albano, Paolo G.
fbc58336-2e26-4826-aeca-d8ec8bb354bf
Bremner, Julie
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Grebmeier, Jacqueline M.
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Link, Heike
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Morata, Nathalie
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Nordström, Marie C.
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Shojaei, Mehdi Ghodrati
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Sutton, Lauren
3cf61f0a-6f58-4f58-be59-02d52c53905e
Zuschin, Martin
3bf2b4bd-85ce-4305-8c5c-53ae964b232e

Degen, Renate, Aune, Magnus, Bluhm, Bodil A., Cassidy, Camilla, Kędra, Monika, Kraan, Casper, Vandepitte, Leen, Włodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria, Zhulay, Irina, Albano, Paolo G., Bremner, Julie, Grebmeier, Jacqueline M., Link, Heike, Morata, Nathalie, Nordström, Marie C., Shojaei, Mehdi Ghodrati, Sutton, Lauren and Zuschin, Martin (2018) Trait-based approaches in rapidly changing ecosystems: a roadmap to the future polar oceans. Ecological Indicators, 91, 722-736. (doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.04.050).

Record type: Review

Abstract

Polar marine regions are facing rapid changes induced by climate change, with consequences for local faunal populations, but also for overall ecosystem functioning, goods and services. Yet given the complexity of polar marine ecosystems, predicting the mode, direction and extent of these consequences remains challenging. Trait-based approaches are increasingly adopted as a tool by which to explore changes in functioning, but trait information is largely absent for the high latitudes. Some understanding of trait–function relationships can be gathered from studies at lower latitudes, but given the uniqueness of polar ecosystems it is questionable whether these relationships can be directly transferred. Here we discuss the challenges of using trait-based approaches in polar regions and present a roadmap of how to overcome them by following six interlinked steps: (1) forming an active, international research network, (2) standardizing terminology and methodology, (3) building and crosslinking trait databases, (4) conducting coordinated trait-function experiments, (5) implementing traits into models, and finally, (6) providing advice to management and stakeholders. The application of trait-based approaches in addition to traditional species-based methods will enable us to assess the effects of rapid ongoing changes on the functioning of marine polar ecosystems. Implementing our roadmap will make these approaches more easily accessible to a broad community of users and consequently aid understanding of the future polar oceans.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 April 2018
Published date: 1 August 2018
Keywords: Climate change, Ecosystem functioning, Functional traits, Marine, Polar regions, Trait database

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420724
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420724
ISSN: 1470-160X
PURE UUID: 21408ff7-d2d9-43af-afcc-fa1a8505d7ae

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Date deposited: 14 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 16 Dec 2019 18:14

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Contributors

Author: Renate Degen
Author: Magnus Aune
Author: Bodil A. Bluhm
Author: Camilla Cassidy
Author: Monika Kędra
Author: Casper Kraan
Author: Leen Vandepitte
Author: Maria Włodarska-Kowalczuk
Author: Irina Zhulay
Author: Paolo G. Albano
Author: Julie Bremner
Author: Jacqueline M. Grebmeier
Author: Heike Link
Author: Nathalie Morata
Author: Marie C. Nordström
Author: Mehdi Ghodrati Shojaei
Author: Lauren Sutton
Author: Martin Zuschin

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