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Tracking impacts of climate change in the Arctic marine ecosystems through cephalopod diversity and life histories
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101065960 Call for proposal: HORIZON-MSCA-2021-PF-01
Funded under: HE | HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-PF-EF\HORIZON-AG-UN Funder Contribution: 173,847 EUR

Climate change is impacting global ecosystems, especially in the polar areas of the Earth. Countering climate change effects is stated as one of the key goals of both global development, in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and of regional development, e.g. EU strategy of managing the Arctic. Cephalopoda (Phylum Mollusca) are pivotal components in marine food webs and have life history and physiological characteristics that make them potential winners of climate change. This group, due to their ecology and biology features, such as high abundance coupled with low taxonomic diversity, high degree of opportunism, ecological adaptability, single reproductive cycle and typically a short lifespan, cab ve used to assess and predict climate change-induced shifts of Arctic ecosystems. Thus, the main objective of the Action is to assess biodiversity, life histories and ecological role of cephalopods in the Arctic and their ontogenetic and temporary changes using both well-established and innovative methodologies, in the climate change context. The project addresses this matter via 3 scientific work packages that focus on the following research hypotheses: Hypothesis 1) diversity and distribution of current Arctic cephalopod populations shifts due to climate changes; Hypothesis 2) environmental conditions experienced during the life of individual cephalopods can be documented and used to assess the climate change impact on life histories, where comparing historical with new specimens will highlight climate change impact; and Hypothesis 3) the role of cephalopods in the Arctic food web is even more pivotal then we currently understand, and this would be tested with innovative food web modelling methods. The results achieved will increase the quality of ecological monitoring in the Arctic, leading to more rational management of the Arctic marine ecosystems in order to possibly counter climate change impact.

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