FISH 464: Arctic Marine Vertebrate Ecology
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Offered winter quarter (odd years), 4 credits
Pre-req: BIO 180 or equivalent
The objectives of this course are to convey an understanding of how Arctic marine ecosystems are structured and how they function, the challenges that various upper-trophic level marine organisms meet when living in the Arctic, how individuals adapt (looking at life-history parameters and reproductive strategies), and how populations are affected by physical changes in the Arctic environment. Emphasis will be put on the complexity of Arctic marine ecosystems from primary producers to top predators, biomass, productivity, and biodiversity at different trophic levels, and the influence of sea ice as a forcing and shaping mechanism. Food chains and energy transport paths will be discussed. Simple fundamentals of population dynamics will be presented, like single species dynamics, trophic interactions and effects of environmental changes in time and space (climate change, habitat heterogeneity). The course will focus on several detailed case studies about various Arctic marine vertebrates, and the Arctic ecosystem will be compared to the Antarctic ecosystem. Finally, this course will touch on how all of this fits in as a background for better (or future) Arctic management and conservation policies given anthropogenic impacts.