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USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative

Black BrantIn 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was asked by the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a series of analyses to help reduce uncertainty in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decision for the polar bear.  The USGS produced a series of reports, including projections of the future population trends of polar bears.  These projections were supported by a strong foundation in empirical data from long-term USGS studies.  The Department of the Interior saw a need to conduct similar analyses for other species in the Arctic, thus beginning the USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative.

The USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative will enhance the long-term science foundation needed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other partners by focusing on the following objectives:

  • Quantify the responses (positive, negative, and stable) of wildlife species and their habitats to ecosystem change in the Arctic;
  • Make information on these responses publically available to inform management decisions related to development of oil and gas resources on Bureau of Land Management lands and on the Outer Continental Shelf managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management;
  • Provide projections of likely future wildlife and habitat responses to inform Department of Interior actions related to regulation or policy, Alaska Native subsistence and co-management actions, and new monitoring protocols and adaptive management strategies.

USGS Fact Sheets


Geiselman, J. A., A. R. DeGange, K. L. Oakley, D. V. Derksen, and M. E. Whalen. 2011. Changing Arctic ecosystems - Research to understand and project changes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the Arctic. USGS Fact Sheet 2011-3136, 4 p. [Details] [Full Publication]

Marine Ecosystem:

Oakley, K. L., T. C. Atwood, D. C. Douglas, K. D. Rode, and M. E. Whalen. 2015. Changing Arctic Ecosystems: Updated forecast: Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions required to improve polar bear outlook. 2015-3042, 2 p. doi:10.3133/fs20153042 [Details] [Full Publication] [PDF file 656 kb]

Oakley, K. L., M. E. Whalen, D. C. Douglas, M. S. Udevitz, T. C. Atwood, and C. V. Jay. 2012. Changing Arctic Ecosystems: Polar bear and walrus response to the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice. USGS Fact Sheet 2012-3131, 4 p. [Details] [Full Publication]

Arctic Coastal Plain:

Hupp, J. W., D. H. Ward, M. E. Whalen, and J. M. Pearce. 2015. Changing Arctic ecosystems—What is causing the rapid increase of Snow Geese in northern Alaska?. USGS Fact Sheet 2015-3062, 2 p. doi:10.3133/fs20153062 [Details] [Full Publication]

Gustine, D. D., L. G. Adams, M. E. Whalen, and J. M. Pearce. 2014. Changing Arctic Ecosystems–Resilience of caribou to climatic shifts in the Arctic. USGS Fact Sheet 2014-3103, 2 p. doi:10.3133/fs20143103 [Details] [Full Publication]

Uher-Koch, B. D., J. A. Schmutz, M. E. Whalen, and J. M. Pearce. 2014. Changing Arctic Ecosystems - Ecology of loons in a changing Arctic. USGS Fact Sheet 2014–3093, 2 p. doi:10.3133/fs20143093 [Details] [Full Publication]

Flint, P. L., M. E. Whalen, and J. M. Pearce. 2014. Changing Arctic Ecosystems - Sea ice decline, permafrost thaw, and benefits for geese. USGS Fact Sheet 2014–3088, 2 p. doi:10.3133/fs20143088 [Details] [Full Publication]

Pearce, J. M., A. R. DeGange, P. L. Flint, T. F. Fondell, D. D. Gustine, L. E. Holland-Bartels, A. G. Hope, J. W. Hupp, J. C. Koch, J. A. Schmutz, S. L. Talbot, D. H. Ward, and M. E. Whalen. 2012. Changing Arctic Ecosystems - Measuring and forecasting the response of Alaska's terrestrial ecosystem to a warming climate. USGS Fact Sheet 2012-3144, 4 p. [Details] [Full Publication]

Boreal-Arctic Transition Zone:

McNew, L. B., C. M. Handel, J. M. Pearce, A. R. DeGange, L. E. Holland-Bartels, and M. E. Whalen. 2013. Changing Arctic Ecosystems - The role of ecosystem changes across the Boreal-Arctic transition zone on the distribution and abundance of wildlife populations. USGS Fact Sheet 2013-3054, 2 p. [Details] [Full Publication]


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Page Last Modified: December 06 2016 12:43:52.