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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Most Barents Sea larvae are of local or regional origin, but some are drifting into the Arctic from further south.

Graphic: Raphaëlle Descôteaux

Descôteaux R, Huserbråten M, Jørgensen LL, Renaud PE, Ingvaldsen RB, Ershova EA, Bluhm BA

Origin of marine invertebrate larvae on an

Arctic inflow shelf

For many marine benthic invertebrate species, a planktonic larval phase is the main dispersal vector. Inflow shelves like the Barents Sea are likely major entry points of drifting southern larvae into the Arctic. Descôteaux and colleagues compared larval distributions (identified from DNA metabarcoding of zooplankton samples) with adult distributions, complemented with particle tracking analysis, to infer the origins of larvae. They demonstrated that despite its strong advective nature, the Barents Sea was dominated by locally- or regionally-produced larvae. There is evidence, however, that some long-lived larvae can currently drift onto this inflow shelf from further south, raising the possibility of rapid range extensions into the Arctic as the climate continues to warm.


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