Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2729-928X

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2020

Publication Title

Arctic Science

Volume

6

Issue

3

First Page

340

Last Page

351

DOI

10.1139/as-2020-0018

Keywords

Amundsen Gulf, Appendicularian, Climate change, Inuit observation, Knowledge co-production

Abstract

© 2020, Canadian Science Publishing. All rights reserved. Inuit are at the forefront of ecosystem change in the Arctic, yet their observations and interpretations are rarely reported in the literature. Climate change impacts are rapidly unfolding in the Arctic and there is a need for monitoring and reporting unique observations. In this short communication, we draw upon observations and experiential knowledge from western Canadian Inuit (Inuvialuit) harvesters combined with a scientific assessment to describe and interpret an unusual account of gelatinous organisms at high densities during summer 2019 in eastern Amundsen Gulf, near Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories. The gelatinous organisms were identified as primarily appendicularian larvaceans (Oikopleura spp., pelagic tunicates) and their gelatinous “houses”. The organisms were observed within 3–5 km of the marine coast, from ∼1–2 m below the surface and to depths of ∼30 m with an underwater camera. Pelagic tunicates have rarely been documented in the eastern Amundsen Gulf and, to our knowledge, this was the first time these organisms had been noted by the people of Ulukhaktok. The pelagic tunicates clogged subsistence fishing nets and Inuvialuit harvesters were concerned about negative impacts to marine mammals and fishes, which they depend on for food security. These interpretations highlight major knowledge gaps for appendicularians in the Arctic.

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