e-CBMP Newsletter
Spring 2012
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Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program            Volume 6 Issue 1

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In This Issue
Letter From the Chair
CBMP IPY 2012 News/Events
Partner IPY 2012 News
Other News

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Dear Friends,

The Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) is happy to welcome you to the various events it is hosting at the upcoming International Polar Year Conference: From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012.


The CBMP will be well represented at this important event. The CBMP Marine Steering Group will present on the newly developed Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan and the Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Group and the Freshwater Expert Monitoring Group will present on the progress of their respective integrated Arctic biodiversity monitoring plans. Various organizational meetings will capitalize on the nature of the event and offer unique opportunities to gather, share information, and build upon the momentum of the CBMP.


Please join us for the exciting launch of the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS), the CBMP´s solution to gather, access, present and manage circumpolar biodiversity monitoring data. The Seabird Information Network´s Circumpolar Seabird Data Portal will serve as an excellent example for how this interoperable web-based system will develop into an effective tool over time.


We are also very pleased to release results from a new analysis of the Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI) in a media event on Monday April 23rd. New analysis has focused on marine species and spatial/temporal trends. Join us to understand how fish, bird and mammal species are faring in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans, and how spatial analysis is leading us to better identify information gaps and drivers of change.


As accelerated changes to Polar Regions become more and more apparent, the International Polar Year (IPY) 2012 conference draws international attention to the latest science and understanding of Polar Regions, global change, and related environmental, social and economic issues. From Knowledge to Action will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy- and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including Indigenous peoples.


We are excited to have you join us there. Please note that the conference program is being finalized, and times and locations below may be subject to change. For the latest scheduling, please visit the IPY 2012 Conference´s Program section of their website or use their searchable program here. for more events of interest, please visit CAFF´s website here.


Mike Gill, Chair
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program


CBMP IPY 2012 News and Events


CBMP Presentations



CBMPpresentationsCBMP Presentations



plenary Plenary Panel: Adaptation to Change: Improving the decision making process: Building upon examples of utilizing long-term monitoring data for decision making

When: Wednesday April 25, 15:30-17:00


Arctic Ocean. Photo: George Burba/Shutterstock.com
Mike Gill will join a plenary panel discussing how integrated long-term monitoring, data management and reporting have led to examples of more efficient and effective decision making.


The Arctic's size and complexity represents a significant challenge towards detecting and attributing important biodiversity trends. This demands a scaled, pan-Arctic, ecosystem-based approach that not only identifies trends in biodiversity, but also identifies underlying causes. Mike Gill will discuss progress towards the goal of rigorous, integrated, and efficient monitoring programs that have the power to detect change within a "management" time frame, a process that is critical to help information become available to generate effective strategies for adapting to changes now taking place in the Arctic.


ContactMike Gill, Chair, CBMP, Environment Canada 



overviewCoordinating for Arctic conservation: Implementing integrated Arctic biodiversity monitoring, data management and reporting

When: Thursday April 26, 14:00
Where: 514AB (part of session 3.1.5 Information to Support Decision-Making)
Little Auk. Photo: Bjorn Stefanson/Shutterstock.com


Mike Gill and Michael Svoboda will provide an overview of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), the cornerstone program of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) that was established as the Arctic Council´s response to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment´s recommendation to expand and enhance Arctic biodiversity monitoring. The presentation will highlight the CBMP approach and provide some examples of how integrated monitoring, data management and reporting are leading to more informed decision-making. 


They will describe the history, drivers, mandate and organization of the CBMP. Learn about the structure and organization of each of the three established Expert Monitoring Groups (marine, freshwater, terrestrial) and their task to develop and implement integrated circumpolar biodiversity monitoring plans for their ecosystem.

Presenters will discuss the development of a suite of indicators and indices, and a web-based Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS) to facilitate effective reporting and data management.


Contact: Mike Gill, Chair, CBMP, Environment Canada



cbmp2 Coordinating for Arctic Conservation: CBMP´s Distributed Biodiversity Monitoring Data Network

When: Tuesday April 24, 15:45

Where: 524C (part of session 2.5.4 Accessing, Sharing and Preserving Data as a Legacy of IPY)


CBMP colour logo with 'cbmp' inside
CBMP logo

Join Michael Svoboda as he discusses the CBMP´s creation of a publicly accessible, efficient, and transparent platform to house information on the status and trends in Arctic biodiversity. Specifically, a web-based data portal will be used to manage data related to the current state of arctic biodiversity at various scales and levels of detail for a wide range of audiences. CBMP's data management focus over the next two years will support activities related to data discovery and establishment of distributed data nodes following international data standards as identified by the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI). These activities will also include contributing biodiversity monitoring meta-data to the Polar Data Catalogue, creation of a central data node option at the Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group and a web featured data display tool for data live cataloguing and viewing.


Contact: Michael Svoboda, CBMP Officer, Environment Canada


TEMGpresentTerrestrial Expert Monitoring Group: Developing a Plan for the Circumpolar Arctic

When: Wednesday April 25, 1545

Where: 520BC (part of session 1.5.2 Polar Observing Systems and Remote Sensing)


Sarek National Park, Sweden. Photo: Sander van der Werf/Shutterstock.com
Join Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Group (TEMG) co-leads John Payne and Tom Christensen as they discuss the progress made towards the development of an integrated, circumpolar Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Monitoring Plan. 


They will discuss the TEMG´s approach to increase the ability to detect, understand and report on the causes of long-term change in the composition, structure, and function of Arctic ecosystems and the biodiversity they support. The primary objective of the TEMG is to develop a multi-disciplinary, integrated, pan-Arctic long-term terrestrial ecosystem-based biodiversity monitoring plan that:

  • Achieves more efficient, effective, and coordinated Arctic terrestrial biodiversity monitoring through improved data accessibility and standardizing of methods;
  • Identifies, rescues, aggregates and analyzes existing data to generate statistical baselines;
  • Identifies gaps in existing monitoring and propose new monitoring efforts;
  • Improves data management;
  • Gives basis for regular assessment and reporting of pan-Arctic monitoring activities and results; and,
  • Supports international biodiversity convention goals, particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In addition there will be a poster presentation Monday April 23, 17:00-19:00, Poster Session A (part of 1.3.1 Polar terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.)


Contact: John Payne, North Slope Science Initiative



freshwaterpresentBiodiversity of Arctic Freshwaters: Developing the CAFF-CBMP Integrated Monitoring Plan

When: Monday April 23, between 17:00-19:00

Where: Session 1A301: Poster and exhibition hall


Arctic freshwater stream. Photo: Dan Bach Kristensen/Shutterstock.com

Join Freshwater Expert Monitoring Group (FEMG) co-leads Joseph Culp and Willem Goedkoop as they discuss the development of the soon-to-be-published Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Monitoring Plan.


The FEMG includes scientific experts from all Arctic countries who are designing optimal sampling schemes, common parameters and standardized monitoring protocols for application across circumpolar Arctic freshwaters. The assessment approach defines Focal Ecosystem Components to focus monitoring on the most valued structural and functional aspects of Arctic freshwaters, designates expert-defined impact hypothesis to link key stressors to ecological effects, and defines abiotic and biotic indicators that can be used to assess the effects of key anthropogenic stressors.


The FEMG is accumulating historical and contemporary data inventories to address these impact hypotheses and is defining critical monitoring gaps and strategies to fill them. Synthesis reporting from the FEMG will link to the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) and output from other CBMP expert groups (e.g., Marine and Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Groups) to inform policy through periodic assessments of the state of Arctic freshwater ecosystems.


A key element of the approach is to utilize existing monitoring programs and recorded data sources for initial assessments. The FEMG is also developing standardized protocols and analytical tools that can be incorporated into future monitoring programs.


Contact: Joseph Culp, Environment Canada



marinepresentThe CBMP Marine Plan: Integrated Monitoring to Strengthen Decision Making

When: Tuesday April 24, 10:30

Where: 520D (part of session 2.3.4 Impacts of Change and Development on Biodiversity and Polar Ecosystem Services)


Cover Shot of CBMP Marine Plan
The Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan. Click to Download

Join Marine Steering Group co-leads Jill Watkins and Kathy Crane as they discuss the implementation of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan. 


During the first two years of implementation (2011-2013), the focus will be on integrating datasets and producing and reporting baselines of the most important indicators of change across Arctic marine ecosystems.  This will require integrating existing marine biodiversity monitoring efforts (both traditional scientific and community-based) across the Arctic, and using a suite of common biological parameters and indicators; key abiotic parameters relevant to marine biodiversity; and optimal sampling schemes.  Monitoring results will be organized and reported according to Arctic Marine Areas.


This work will be performed under the aegis of the newly formed Marine Steering Group and through seven marine expert networks - sea-ice biota, plankton, benthos, fish, seabirds, marine mammals and polar bears.


The overall goal of the CBMP-Marine Plan is to improve our ability to detect and understand the causes of long-term changes to the composition, structure and function of Arctic marine ecosystems, as well as to develop authoritative assessments of key elements of Arctic marine biodiversity (e.g., key indicators, ecologically pivotal and/or other important taxa).


Contact: Jill Watkins, Fisheries and Oceans Canada




ABDSpresentCBMP Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS) launch, Seabird Information Network (SIN)

When: Thursday April 26, 17:00-19:00

WhereRoom 510 AC 

Distributed data nodes will feed information into one centralized data service. Graphic: sheelamohanachandra2010/ Shutterstock.com


Mike Gill and Michael Svoboda will present on the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program's development of the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS), the interoperable, web-based system in development for displaying, accessing and managing various Arctic biodiversity data types and layers. The ABDS is a powerful new tool to gather, aggregate and disseminate biodiversity data, leading to more efficient and effective reporting to various user groups including scientists, natural resource managers, and policy makers.


The ABDS will be presented in the context of the Seabird Information Network's (SIN) Circumpolar Seabird Data Portal, an excellent an exciting example of the power of sharing biodiversity information through the web.


Contact: Michael Svoboda, CBMP, Environment Canada



ASTImediaArctic Species Trend Index (ASTI): Media Event

When/Where: Monday April 23, 13:00, Media Room


Seal. Photo: AleksandrN/Shutterstock.com

Join Anthon Frederiksen (Minister of Domestic Affairs, Nature and Environment, Greenland), Gustav Lind (Senior Arctic Officials Chair), a Canadian government representative, Mike GIll (Chair, CBMP), and Tom Barry (Executive Secretary of CAFF) as they present on the latest findings from a new analysis of the Arctic Species Trend Index, (ASTI) an index that illustrates overall spatial and temporal trends in fish, bird and mammal species.  


Data additions and extensions have improved the ASTI since its 2010 release. Scientists have since conducted in-depth analysis on the Arctic marine species, and additional spatial analysis.


Contact: Mike Gill, CBMP, Environment Canada 



CBMPMeetingsCBMP Meetings


cochairmeetCBMP Co-Chairs Coordination Meeting (closed)

When: Sunday, April 22, 13:00-17:00

Where: Palais des congrès de Montréal (5th floor), Room: 513 D


temgmeetCBMP Terrestrial Expert Monitoring Group Meeting (closed)

When: Monday April 23, 17:00-19:00

Where: Palais des congrès de Montréal (5th floor), Room: 512 F

When: Tuesday April 24, 17:00-19:00

Where: Palais des congrès de Montréal (5th floor), Room: 512 F 


marinemeetCBMP Marine Expert Monitoring and Implementation Meeting (closed)

When: Tuesday April 24, 17:00-19:00

Where: Palais des congrès de Montréal (5th floor), Room: 512 G 

When: Wednesday April 25, 17:00-19:00

Where: Palais des congrès de Montréal (5th floor), Room: 512 F




Partner IPY 2012 News


abaArctic Biodiversity Assessment authors meeting


The lead authors of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment project will meet before the IPY Conference at the Biosphere, Environment Canada Museum in Montreal. They will discuss the project´s progress towards its 2013 release date.


Contact: The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna International Secretariat



acboothArctic Council exhibitor booth


The Arctic Council will have a booth at the International Polar Year 2012 conference exhibition where the Swedish Chairmanship, Permanent Participants, and Working Groups will be represented. The booth will be located in booth area 401/403, to the left of the exhibition entrance. Stop by the booth from Monday April 23 until Thursday April 26 for Arctic Council information and activities. Gustaf Lind, Arctic Council SAO Chair, will also visit the booth in the beginning of the week and will be available to answer questions. 


Contact: Linnea Nordstrom, Arctic Council Secretariat 



orcaThe value of long-time series data: an example using Canadian Arctic killer whales: Steven Ferguson


Orca. Photo: Tom Middleton/Shutterstock.com
Orca. Photo: Tom Middleton/Shutterstock.com
For over 15 years several vertebrate long-term time series have been gathered across the Canadian Arctic. Although such datasets have been developed more or less independently, together they offer much potential for monitoring trends in population dynamics and provide basic elements for policy development. It is therefore critical to stimulate the use of existing datasets while covering such large portions of the Arctic where the effects of global perturbations are expected to be the strongest. Here we use a database, which is one of the longest and largest in terms of area coverage, the Canadian Arctic killer whale sighting database. The breath of the killer whale dataset, which was expanded recently through an Inuit Traditional Knowledge study during the IPY years (2007-2009), can truly be used as an example of monitoring with direct management and policy implications. Overall, our results indicate a mixed foraging strategy used by killer whales while in Arctic waters that includes seasonal predator specialization on marine mammal prey. The killer whale sighting database also discerned decadal cycles that may have faded out recently, ecosystem shifts associated with commercial whaling, unexpected management consequences for small local populations of odontocetes, global conservation concerns for prey species requiring ice as a predator refugia, and the need for community involvement in monitoring efforts. Beyond the knowledge for a top marine predator, we indicate here an applied framework for long-term datasets in the Arctic to combine (1) the continuation of current observation systems, (2) the expansion of existing monitoring sites toward the inclusion of other trophic links, (3) the addition of new monitoring sites to complete circumpolar spatial coverage as well as into less-sampled ecosystems and hotspots, and (4) a working network of circumpolar observations to develop large-scale adaptive management and policy necessary to respond to rapid global change.


Contact: Dr. Steven Ferguson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada



PPSPPS Arctic activities during the IPY 2012 Conference


PPS Arctic: Present day processes, Past changes, and Spatiotemporal variability of biotic, abiotic and socio-environmental conditions and resource components along and across the Arctic delimitation zone The IPY core project group PPS Arctic has 27 presentations during the IPY 2012 Conference. Please click here to see a list of abstracts. All presentations focus on causes and consequences of change in the forest-tundra ecotone at local to circumpolar scales and from ecological, climatic and socioeconomic perspectives. A project embracing presentation is entitled "PPS Arctic - Circumpolar Treeline Research during IPY: From model predictions to site-based knowledge". Most posters will be presented in the late afternoon April 23, and oral presentations on April 24.


The PPS Arctic group is also holding a side meeting in the afternoon on April 25. Colleagues and students interested in causes and consequences of tree and shrub encroachment of tundra are warmly welcome. The main issue for the meeting is synthesis work and activities beyond IPY. 


Contact: Annika Hofgaard, PPS Arctic project leader, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research



IASC Newsletter describing IPY activities
IASC IPY Newsletter, click to download PDF.

IASCInternational Arctic Science Committee (IASC) at IPY 2012 Conference


A special IASC newsletter edition on the upcoming IPY Conference is available for download. The edition concentrates fully on IASC activities that will take place right before and during the IPY 2012 Montréal Conference: From Knowledge to Action. It includes information about IASC involvement in the planning process, IASC involved sessions, the Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, the 2012 IASC Medal Award, and much more. 


Download the IASC Newsletter.



Other News




polarbearPolar Bears: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behaviour: Andrew Derocher 


Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behaviour
Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behaviour

Polar bears: A complete guide to their biology and behaviour (released March 2012 from Johns Hopkins University Press, hardcover, 264 pages) is the latest and most up-to-date book to cover this most charismatic Arctic species. The author, Andrew Derocher, is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta and past chair of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group. Over 150 stunning photos provided by renowned wildlife photographer Wayne Lynch cover the life of the bears and the ecosystem they depend upon. Drawing on almost 3 decades of studying polar bears, Derocher explores their brown/grizzly bear ancestry and evolution. The book follows polar bears from birth to death and explores how the ice bear makes a living eating little more than seal blubber.  More a celebration of a species so attuned to the Arctic than a requiem, the book draws on hundreds of scientific papers yet makes the information eminently available to all. 


Contact: Andrew Derocher, University of Alberta



kawerakKawerak, Inc. Our Bering Strait: Navigating for Success 2012 Regional Conference


Kawerak Regional Conference. Photo: Luciana Whitaker

Kawerak is hosting its 2012 regional conference from April 24-26, 2012, at the Nome Recreation Center in Nome, Alaska. The Conference features: 

  • Bering Sea issues forum
  • Northern Waters Task Force
  • US Coast Guard- Bering Sea traffic
  • Alaska Marine Safety Organization
  • Oceana- Important ecological areas
  • Shell Oil- drilling policy, technology
  • Hands-on cultural workshops
  • Alternative energy at camp

Contact: Barb Nickels, Kawerak, Inc. or register online




ptarmiganLong-term studies of willow ptarmigan and gyrfalcon in the Yukon Territory: A collapsing 10-year cycle and its apparent effect on the top predator: Dave Mossop 


Ptarmigan. Photo: Alexander A. Trofimov/Shutterstock.com

From the late 1950s to the present, several study plots across the Yukon have been variously surveyed annually for territorial Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus). Beginning in the mid-1970s, Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) breeding numbers in the same tundra systems have been monitored annually. These data are held in a long-term data base. Monitoring has supported studies of winter survival strategies, tests of population change theory, and reproductive strategy. Willow Ptarmigan are seen as a 'keystone' in the tundra community. Understanding and tracking very basic trophic interrelationships with the Gyrfalcon, the top predator, has been a major effort at community study. Stable, regular, synchronous, 10-year cycles have been demonstrated in both species. However, beginning in 2000, monitoring surveys have been suggesting the regular cycling of ptarmigan abundance may be faltering-the population peaks seem to be disappearing, although there is no evidence of imminent local extinctions. The potential consequence to the tundra ecosystem is suggested in disruption at the top of the food chain-Gyrfalcons are breeding

much later, may be producing fewer young, and seem to be declining in abundance. Simple modeling suggests Gyrfalcon productivity through the few years of peak ptarmigan productivity may be critical. It will be important to maintain longer monitoring to demonstrate conclusively this

change as well as causes 


Mossop, D. H. 2011. Long-term studies of Willow Ptarmigan and Gyrfalcon in the Yukon Territory:A collapsing 10-year cycle and its apparent effect on the top predator. In R. T. Watson, T. J. Cade, M. Fuller, G. Hunt, and E. Potapov (Eds.). Gyrfalcons and Ptarmigan in a Changing WorldThe Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho, USA. 


Contact: Dave Mossop, Yukon College 



If you have any questions about CAFF and/or the CBMP, please contact:

Courtney Price
Communications Officer, CAFF
+354 821-3609