Benthic fauna are a crucial part of the marine ecosystem providing many ecosystem services. Unfortunately, Arctic coastal marine environments are under tremendous pressure from changing climate conditions and it is becoming increasingly important to understand community changes occurring in these environments. Long-term ecological studies in the Canadian Arctic are rare, however, Frobisher Bay provides a unique opportunity to study long-term change in the marine benthos because historical benthic community datasets exist for this region. We focused on the molluscs as indicators of long-term change by comparing community temporal and spatial changes between 1967-1976 and 2016. Significant changes in community composition were observed between these two time periods and shifts in functional trait characteristics were also observed. These changes coincided with long-term environmental change in the region. Our results highlight the need for long-term systematic sampling which is fundamental to our understanding of Arctic marine ecosystems and for identifying long-term ecosystem change.
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Adapted from https://research.library.mun.ca/14467/