The “Arctic Stamp”, its imprint on an endangered marine flora –
Wilce, Robert T.
Abstract The pan-Arctic attached algal flora, its character and composition is identified. It is currently best represented in the Beaufort Sea, the Canadian archipelago, N Baffin Island, NW and NE Greenland N-NE, Svalbard, the N Laptev Sea, and the Russian coasts including the W coast of the Bering Strait. This description of Arctic littoral and sublittoral marine ecosystems includes a comprehensive inventory of their floras and identifies mechanical and physiological stresses. Character and biogeography of the Arctic marine flora reflect the abiotic characteristics of the environment. Long dark periods and continuous sub-zero to near zero temperatures are barriers to northward migration of sub-Arctic and Boreal species. Arctic species diversity, biomass, many morphologies are distinct from these features in sub-Arctic species. The imprint of the environment, its affects on the flora are termed the “Arctic stamp”. The flora contains 161 species, many cyanobacteria, 2 identified, 48 Chlorophyta, 58 Phaeophyta, 49 Rhodophyta, 1 Dinophyta, 2 Chrysophyta, 1 Xanthophyta. The flora contains 66 species also present in the NW Pacific Ocean and or the Bering Sea. Twenty one species (12 brown, 8 red algal 45 taxa, 1 green alga) are considered Arctic endemics. This floristic and ecological information reflects pre-19th century Arctic marine floras, a recognizable basis of identity that permits predictions of change in the macroalgal Arctic flora as the result of seawater warming and sea ice attenuation.