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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Mobile benthic predators and scavengers collected in the Canadian Beaufort Sea.
Photo: Rachel Hussherr / CBS-MEA, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Stasko AD, Bluhm BA, Michel C, Archambault P, Majewski A, Reist JD, Swanson H, Power M


Benthic-pelagic trophic coupling in an Arctic marine food web along vertical water mass and organic matter gradients

In the Arctic, climate change is expected to modify the sources, quantity, and flux dynamics of organic matter delivered to the seafloor, which has implications for food web functioning in offshore ecosystems. Stasko and colleagues present the first description of fish and invertebrate food web structure deeper than 200 m in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, and demonstrate that gradients in benthic–pelagic coupling are linked to the vertical water mass structure, local organic matter inputs, and biological processes governing organic matter sinking flux. Benthic communities that are not tightly linked to pelagic food webs utilize a relatively more diverse range of food sources. Understanding spatial patterns in benthic–pelagic coupling is key to identifying communities sensitive to changes in benthic organic matter.


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